Leaders of the House of Representatives held a press conference today to discuss the measures being taken by Congress to aid in the mitigation efforts being currently implemented. Among them are several additional funding measures which seek to ease the economic and psychological burden on citizens affected by the Luzon Island enhanced quarantine.
According to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, the measures need to address four aspects of community welfare: health, the economy, mental health, and community cooperation.
“Kung sasabihin mong how to defeat COVID-19, for me there are four aspects ‘no? First is health, second ‘yung economic, third is ‘yung psychological, mental health pa rin –‘yung concern, ‘yung worry, ‘yung fear ng mga tao sa puwedeng mangyari. Lalo ngayon, ang balita this morning, ang nabalita kaagad ng kababayan natin, ‘yung sa WHO numbers na nakakaalarma naman talaga ‘no? And fourth, I think, is the community cooperation kasi hindi talaga kaya ng gobyerno na i-solve ‘to by themselves so kailangan talaga ng cooperation ng community,” Speaker Cayetano told the press.
Among the programs being proposed are the Pantawid Pamasahe for tricycle and jeepney drivers, or TUPAD, the work-from-home policy of the Department of Labor and Employment.
LGUs will also be tapped to make sure that resources are being provided to the vulnerable, especially since the quarantine greatly limited people’s ability to earn or purchase goods. Individual households can also be more closely monitored to protect the sickly or elderly.
Cayetano also urged the Commission on Audit to work with Congress to provide guidelines on how to swiftly procure funds for Government Units and other concerned agencies, allowing the latter to act on the disease outbreak with a sense of emergency.
Several budgetary measures have been filed by proactive measures of the House to seek augmented funding for key agencies.
House Committee on Appropriations chairperson Cong. Eric Yap told the media that all pending measures are being consolidated. Extraordinary hearings will be conducted to discuss these and adequate safety measures will be implemented to prevent the spread of the virus during these meetings.
Among the proposed measures are hundred billion peso stimulus packages to raise the nation’s GDP and shield the country from negative economic effects, P10 billion for the Department of Trade and Industry to support outbreak-affected businesses, and P3 billion to DOLE to help affected workers.
“Lastly, may I ask us to continue to pray as one; pray for our president, pray that the scientist maka-find ng vaccine dito and pray that ‘yung measures natin will stop the spread of this disease,” Speaker Cayetano said.