Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
Business organizations are urging Congress to speed up deliberations on the Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy (ARISE) bill, formerly the Philippine Economic Stimulus Act, to allow the economy to recover from the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 or the COVID-19 pandemic.
Forty four business organizations have released a statement throwing support behind the ARISE bill to help protect jobs and businesses, particularly micro and small enterprises (MSMEs) which employ more than 62 percent of the total workforce. ARISE seeks a P1.3 trillion stimulus package to help the economy regain its strength amid the health crisis.
“We appeal to the House of Representatives, the Senate and the administration to have thorough but speedy deliberations to produce a law for this stage of the crisis and recovery. We support calls for President Duterte to call a special session of Congress to act on this and other similar legislation,” the groups said.
Under ARISE, funds would be allocated to implement an enhanced Build Build Build program to include projects on health care, education and food security. Funds would also be earmarked for mass testing, wage subsidies, loans for MSMEs, as well as provide assistance to tourism, transportation industry, manufacturers, and agriculture and fishery. Passage of ARISE would also bring the country close to or exceed the stimulus spending provided by neighboring countries in response to COVID-19.
The House of Representatives, Senate and the executive have already shown their ability to act quickly on matters they deem important, such as swift passage of the ill-timed Anti-Terrorism Act while the country is still struggling to find solutions to protect Filipinos from the adverse effects of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis that oftentimes been a discouraging display of government incompetence, ineptitude and apathy.
Business groups have found it necessary to appeal for the passage of the ARISE bill, a piece of legislation important to these group of constituents who have been silently contributing to the country in any way they can despite the challenges and difficulties posed by the COVID-19 crisis. Is our government listening or have the priorities of the people who can affect change shifted to other problems that they consider more solvable despite the existential threats that continue to occupy the minds of everyone else in this country who has been fending for themselves during these difficult times?*