The Philippines: House passes ‘unfundable’ CURES stimulus bill on third reading

  • The House of Representatives approved on third reading a measure providing PHP1.5tr for infrastructure projects over three years, intended as a program to minimize unemployment.
  • However, the executive branch weighed in by saying that such amounts cannot be funded without new sources of revenue, and expressed hopes for a reduced package when the legislation is reworked in bicameral session.
  • The bill was one of the anti-COVID-19 measures approved by the chamber before it adjourned on 5 Jun 20, which also includes the PHP1.3tr Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy of the Philippines (also known as the proposed ARISE Philippines Act).
  • ARISE Philippines focuses on protecting workers, including those engaged in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said the government has no funds to support stimulus packages pending in the House and Senate.
  • “We are in discussion with the congressmen that such an amount would not be fundable because any supplemental budget or standby appropriations would require new revenue sources and that is very limited and financing or borrowing is not a revenue source,” Mr. Chua said in response.

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