Philippine House Speaker Files $8.7 Billion Pandemic Relief Bill

Philippines House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said he submitted a 420 billion peso ($8.7 billion) pandemic relief bill to Congress to revive an economy in recession.

The relief will help fund programs for pandemic-hit businesses and deliver another wave of cash aid for the poor, Velasco said in a statement on Sunday. The bill was filed jointly with lawmaker Stella Quimbo, according to the Speaker.

The proposal comes even as the government is avoiding outsized stimulus packages to preserve its sovereign credit rating. Instead, it’s relying on a record budget of 4.5 trillion pesos and a measure cutting corporate income taxes to lift the economy out of its deepest contraction since at least 1946.

Additional stimulus is needed as economic output last year “was far below what was assumed for budget purposes, and further losses may still be incurred,” Velasco said. A majority in Congress supports the bill, he said.

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