Senator Imee Marcos has urged the Department of Finance (DoF) to borrow P500 billion to beef up the P200 billion cash aid for the poor as the Luzon-wide quarantine may extend beyond April to effectively contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic.
“Hindi economic target ang dapat natin sagipin ngayon kundi buhay ng tao. Bakit kasi nagkukuripot ang DoF kung marami naman ang pwedeng pagkunan ng pondo?” Marcos said in a Facebook post as she repeated her call for the DoF to borrow about P440 billion.
The chair of the Senate committee on economic affairs said a P500 billion loan would still be within a “manageable debt ceiling of 5.4 percent” from the present 3.2 percent level being maintained by the government.
Additional funds can also be sourced from unused savings from the 2019 national budget, calamity and contingency funds of government departments and agencies like the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, PhilHealth, and the Office of the President, Marcos said.
Reported cases of COVID-19 infection are expected to rise in April, as the Department of Health begins to expand its capacity to conduct tests on a larger scale and plot the progress of the pandemic, Marcos said.
“Ngayong Abril pa lang natin malalaman kung ano ang totoong sitwasyon, lalo na ang mga kasong hindi naitala dahil sa dating kakulangan ng mga test kit. Hindi imposible na aabot ng May or June ang lockdown para sa kapakanan ng lahat,” Marcos said.