Trade chief pitches stimulus vs COVID-19 to lawmakers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 21 2020 04:27 PM

People pass in front of a shuttered restaurant in Quezon City on April 29, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Tuesday lawmakers should help businesses quickly recover from the pandemic by approving proposed stimulus programs. 

Lopez sought for the passage of several packages meant to help firms adapt to the new normal including the recalibrated corporate income tax package CREATE and the Philippine Economic Stimulus Act. 

"We must enable businesses to quickly recover and adapt not only to the new normal but to any crisis that the economy might face," Lopez told a Senate hearing.

"We request the support of the Senate to pass stimulus measures like the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act or CREATE and the Philippine Economic Stimulus Act (PESA)," he added.

The PESA bill seeks a P1.3 trillion economic stimulus for businesses and employees that lost money and livelihood due to the pandemic, the House Committee on Trade and Industry said in a May 16 document filing.

Some portions of the bill are intended for small firms that are hardest hit by the crisis, it said. It also includes interest-free loans for MSMEs and a provision for "loan forgiveness" program, it said. 

Formerly known as CITIRA, CREATE aims to immediately reduce corporate income tax to 25 percent from 30 percent.