Philippines Seeks $26-Billion Stimulus for Economic Recovery

Motorists queue at a quarantine checkpoint, after the government relaxed lockdown measures and allowed work to resume in more industries on May 18, 2020 in Marikina, Metro Manila, Philippines. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

By Andreo Calonzo

The Philippines’ Trade Department wants lawmakers to pass a 1.3-trillion peso ($26 billion) stimulus package that will aid the recovery of industries and their displaced workers.

Of the total stimulus being discussed at the House of Representatives, about 628 billion pesos is planned for wage subsidies and loans for businesses hit by the lockdown, the Trade Department said in a May 25 statement. The remaining half of the proposed package will be used to build facilities for health, education and food security.

Philippines’ Proposed Economic Stimulus Package

  • 650 billion pesos to expand infrastructure program

  • 300 billion pesos to set up the National Emergency and Investment Corp.

  • 200 billion pesos for wage subsidies, loans for small businesses

  • 128 billion pesos for expanded loan program for critically-impacted businesses

The government will “help turn the tide for businesses and workers affected by the health crisis,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said. Quarantine measures will be eased further to allow more industries to operate, he said.

Meanwhile, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in a televised briefing on Monday said he doesn’t want classes to resume until a coronavirus vaccine becomes available. Duterte meant that face-to-face classes won’t be allowed, but virtual learning can still be done, his spokesman Harry Roque said Tuesday.

Duterte also said local government units should prepare to accept tens of thousands of migrant workers expected to return in the coming months. The Philippines reported 350 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the total to 14,669 including 886 deaths.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.