Two economists at the House of Representatives — Joey Salceda of Albay and Stella Quimbo of Marikina — are proposing economic stimulus measures to revive the domestic economy after the enhanced community quarantine.

Salceda’s plan, called the “Philippine National Stimulus Strategy,” will have a gross fiscal cost of P1.65 trillion from 2020 up to 2023. Programs under Salceda’s proposal include:

  • negative Interest Loan wherein the maximum loanable amount shall be 50 percent of the company’s direct labor costs;
  • credit Mediation and Refinancing Service to ensure that MSMEs are able to fulfill obligations under more favorable terms of credit;
  • the National Emergency Investment Corp. whose objective is to minimize permanent damage to the economy by bailing out firms that would go bankrupt; and
  • the Enhanced Build, Build, Build or BBB+, which shall ensure prompt delivery of infrastructure projects.

Quimbo’s “Economy Moving Forward” proposal will require the government to provide assistance to businesses after the Covid-19 lockdown, as follows:

  • compensation for payroll costs during the ECQ;
  • capacity building to for business to recover, cope with the “new normal,” and enable them to better respond to future shocks in the economy;
  • zero interest loans to boost liquidity;
  • “proportional assistance” or the rational scale of assistance.

“Government is now providing social amelioration through the Bayanihan Act, but government cannot do this for a long time,” Quimbo said during a virtual meeting of the House technical working group last April 14.

Quimbo likened the Covid outbreak to a storm that damaged fishing boats and nets of the fisherfolk. Social amelioration means the government will have to break its own rule of not giving fish to the fishers, she said.

“Kailangan tulungan ng gobyernong ayusin ang lambat at bangka. Yan ang aking panukalang batas: government fixes the boat, fixes the wheels of the economy, we ensure business continuity. This way we protect the Filipino worker. Let’s flatten the curve, not the economy,” Quimbo said.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez lll thanked lawmakers for their proposals. “In the face of this challenge, we do not intend to succumb. We fully intend to heal as one nation and prevail over the crisis,” he said. (