Gov’t stimulus package, LGU assistance should be part of SONA

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The government’s stimulus package for micro-small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and the strategies on how to return the realigned funds for local governments, are among the priority issues and concerns that local officials would have want to be part of the fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte that was delivered before lawmakers and the Filipino people on July 27, 2020.

Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong stated that local officials want to be appraised on what extent will be the assistance coming from concerned government agencies to help in assisting the heavily impacted MSMEs in their respective areas of jurisdiction to compliment whatever limited resources initially provided by the better-situated local governments as stimulus for the business sector.

He disclosed that in the case of the city, a huge percentage of the MSMEs had been heavily impacted by the implementation of the Luzonwide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) where a good number of workers were displaced and some of the affected businesses decided to cease operations.

Further, the city chief executive claimed that in the city’s Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), nearly 600 workers of a well-known manufacturer of parts of aircrafts were earlier retrenched followed by the displacement of more than 100 workers from another company operating in the said zone.

On the other hand, the mayor said city officials are also awaiting the announcement from the President on the strategies to gradually return to the different local governments the earlier funds earmarked for big ticket projects but realigned purposely to bankroll the government’s all-out campaign to control the rapid spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

He revealed that many nationally funded projects in the different local governments had been put on hold following the realignment of earlier funds appropriated for these priorities supposed to be implemented this year, and many local officials are keeping their fingers crossed that concerned government agencies can return the funds as the same were relegated to the category for later release of funds.

According to him, the impact of the community quarantine to the national and local economy was enormous with many people started losing their jobs, numerous businesses opted to cease operations, while others had difficulties embracing the new normal and sustaining their operations, thus, the need for government agencies to come out with short, medium and long-term programs that will allow the economy to get back its vibrance.

President Duterte delivered his fifth SONA before a limited audience in the House of Representatives.

Pending before both chambers of Congress are separate bills providing for the stimulus package to revitalize the country’s heavily-impacted economy in the new normal situation following the wrath of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

By Dexter A. See
Presidential photo from pcoo.gov.ph

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