A HOUSE BILL filed Thursday is seeking to set aside P108 billion for a stimulus package that will address the economic impact of the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Marikina Representative Stella Luz A. Quimbo filed House Bill 6606 which if passed will be known as the 2020 Economic Rescue Plan law.

Under the bill, P43 billion will be allotted to assist the tourism sector, P15 billion for displaced workers “including but not limited to emergency employment assistance and transportation vouchers,” and P50 billion for assistance to businesses, including loan packages and subsidies.

In a Viber message to BusinessWorld, Ms. Quimbo said that the stimulus package will be sourced from “contingency funds” and “savings.”

Ms. Quimbo also assured that the filing of the measure is not “too late” despite the adjournment of Congress for its Easter break.

“Rescue plan is for the entire year. (According) to Speaker, Congress can resume anytime if needed,” she said.

Asked why assistance to businesses has the highest allocation compared to the assistance for the tourism sector and displaced workers, Ms. Quimbo replied: “It covers all sectors other than tourism; there are over 900k SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).”

The measure also proposes to create an inter-agency task force “to develop the fiscal stimulus package and manage the use of funds” which will be headed by the National Development and Economic Authority (NEDA), with representatives from the Department of Tourism, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Finance, and the Department of Budget and Management.

NEDA is also tasked to estimate and monitor the impact of Covid-19 on the economy “in order to ensure the proper use of funds” and to submit a quarterly report to Congress.

Appropriations authorized under the bill will be available until funds are fully spent.

“Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, 1% of our Gross Domestic Product is about P186 billion. A stimulus package of P108 billion will compensate for this expected loss, considering multiplier effects, and help keep our economy on track throughout the year.” Ms. Quimbo said in a statement. — Genshen L. Espedido