Think tank: 'BBM' stimulus plan not enough to address pandemic


Posted at May 23 2022 01:48 PM

MANILA — A proposed stimulus program called "Bangon Bayan Muli" or BBM bill will not be enough to address the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a policy think tank.

Zy-za Suzara, executive director of the Institute for Leadership, Empowerment, and Democracy, said the planned P8-billion stimulus package is inadequate to aid an economy ravaged by the pandemic.

"If we're talking about the sheer amount of just P8 billion, I don't think that's going to make a significant impact in terms of what society actually needs in order to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic," she told ANC's "Rundown".

She noted that the People's Budget coalition proposed last year up to P1 trillion budget to tackle the country's needs during the pandemic.

A labor group has also called for a P100-billion subsidy loan for micro, small and medium enterprises, she added.

Suzara also questioned why the so-called BBM bill lacks details.

"There's really more questions than answers with respect to the BBM or the Bayan Bangon Muli bill because there's still no details with respect to what programs will be included in this project. Which sectors will be prioritized? How much the total budget for this will be?" she said.

Lawmakers allied with presumptive President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. are eyeing postponing the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to save funds for the BBM bill, according to House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez.

The Leyte lawmaker, who is being touted to be the next Speaker, said the government could save around P8 billion, which would be used for the government's pandemic response.

In order to plan better the proposed stimulus package, Suzara said the incoming Marcos administration should form an economic team before he takes his oath.

She noted that most presidents had already formed an economic team few weeks after the elections.

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