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BAGUIO CITY – Two Cordillera lawmakers want that the multi-billion infrastructure funds included in the government’s P4.1 trillion budget for this year should not be realigned to sustain the ongoing campaign against the rapid spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease (COVID) 2019 because the funds are economic drivers and job generators in the countryside.
Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang, who chairs the house committee on national cultural communities and indigenous peoples, pointed out the funds had already been bidded out by concerned government agencies for construction activities in the different parts of the country that will jumpstart the heavily impacted economy, especially in the rural areas.
He claimed the proposed realignment of the infrastructure funds will be counterproductive because people will have no sources of livelihood and temporary employment which are actually the need of the times once the community quarantine status of most parts of the archipelago will be lifted.
Congressman Mangaoang emphasized that the implementation of the funded projects will definitely generate a significant number of jobs at the project sites aside from ensuring the realization of countryside development and attracting possible investors in potential growth areas.
According to him, stimulating the local economy should be the proper approach of concerned government agencies to help realise the government’s efforts to gradually revive the heavily impacted economy and bring back robust economic activities amidst the prevailing new normal situation.
Congressman Mangaoang stated that lawmakers are striving to ensure that under the government’s stimulus package for businesses, appropriated infrastructure funds will not be touched in the ongoing realignment of funds but instead should already be implemented by the concerned government agencies where the funds had been lodged to start up the national and local economy.
On his part, Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Y. Dalog, Jr. expressed support to the position of his fellow Cordillera lawmaker, saying people in the countryside had been the ones that had been heavily impacted because most of them lost their jobs and lucrative economic endeavors that were their legitimate sources of livelihood.
Dalog asserted that if there will be sectors that will be prioritized to start operations, it should be the construction industry because it will be a multi-sectoral approach in gradually bringing back the economy as it will not only generate jobs for the people but also introduce improvements in the rural areas.
Congress is currently deliberating on the economic stimulus package to be offered to the heavily impacted sectors because of the enormous effects of the implementation of the Luzonwide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) now downgraded to general community quarantine (GCQ).
Both lawmakers are optimistic the government’s economic stimulus package will be passed before Congress will adjourn its regular session next week.