When Congress resumes on 16 November and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque begins his first full session, lawmakers will strive to pass until yearend most economic measures that will help the country rise from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the “New Deal for the New Economy” regime, comprehensive reforms will be made in the areas of sustainable energy; infrastructure for inclusive development; countryside investments; fiscal standing or the road to “A” credit rating; modern national governance, which includes fighting red tape; green economy to build a climate-resilient economy; modern, efficient and dynamic agriculture; local governance modernization; reliable healthcare system; comprehensive education reform; financial sector modernization; and digital economy competitiveness.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chair of the House Ways and Means and chair of the Economic Stimulus and Recovery Cluster for the Defeat Covid-19 Committee, said bold economic policies will avert what he termed as “K-shaped recovery” from the impact of the pandemic. That is, where the educated middle class and above workforce recovers but the underskilled and underemployed are left behind to suffer a decline in socioeconomic status.
Salceda said the measures he introduced, which they aim to pass within 100 days, embody aggressive intermediate responses in legislation to prevent the risk of an uneven socioeconomic recovery in the country when the pandemic ends.
“Unless policy makers move fast, the country will still see underemployment in the 25 percent level and unemployment at eight percent by the end of 2021,” he said. “The poor and working classes are unable to find jobs that meet their skill sets and are thus unable to accumulate their fair share of the national wealth.”
There at least 56 bills which Salceda cited in his aide memoire and the number will likely expand as “the Speaker wants a House that studies and works 24/7, as we did during the budget hearings.”
“The new House leadership faces the daunting task of confronting a once-in-a-generation crisis, where the curative economic and financial tools have yet to be invented or tried,” he said.
“COVID-19 also accelerated the shift towards a new global economic order, where information and communications technology are the most highly prized commodity and channel, and where low-skilled, strictly-onsite work is nearing obsolescence.”