Marikina City 2nd District Representative Stella Quimbo once again pushed for the passage of the proposed Bayanihan to Arise as One Act or Bayanihan 3 to address the unemployment problem in the country.
Quimbo on Wednesday, March 10, asked the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to reconsider its opposition to House Bill No. 8628 or the Bayanihan 3 bill, following a Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) report that some 4 million Filipinos were unemployed in January 2021.
The same PSA report showed an increase in the unemployment rate from 5.1% in 2019 to 10.8% in 2020, making it the highest jump since 2005.
“Kaya’t nananawagan po ako sa NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) na pag-aralan pa sana nila ang magiging epekto sa kahirapan ng pamilyang Pilipino sa pagpapaliban ng Bayanihan 3,” Quimbo said.
(That’s why I’m calling on NEDA to further examine the effects this will have on poor Filipino families should they choose to set aside Bayanihan 3.)
She said Bayanihan 3 would help address unemployment, underemployment, and poverty incidence as the bill sets a P420-billion fund to help offset the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Quimbo and Speaker Lord Allan Velasco are the primary authors of the bill.
But NEDA still finds no need for Congress to pass a third stimulus package, since the Duterte administration has yet to fully utilize other measures meant to boost the economy amid the public health crisis.
In February, at least 37 lawmakers filed a resolution calling for a House probe into the unreleased funds under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 law.
Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda, for his part, believes a quick rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines would be “the best way to cover lost economic ground.”
Salceda said in a separate statement that an efficient vaccination program would allow the country to “create jobs sustainably” because “more people [will be] able to go out and the velocity of money [can] recover.”
“We must also resume public transport operations. Without reliable public and mass transport, there will be no manufacturing or industrial growth,” he added.
Salceda also said the unemployment rate in 2020 did not surprise him, attributing this “partly to the failure of credit stimulus.”
He cited 3 causes: banks continued to be risk-averse, the delayed release of Bayanihan 2’s equity infusion for government financial institutions, and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ release of stricter guidelines on lending despite its own expansionary monetary policy. – Rappler.com
Christina Quiambao is a 4th year journalism student of the University of the Philippines-Diliman. She is a Rappler intern.