A legislator from the Bicol region on Monday urged the Marcos administration to allocate P500 billion annually for the next three years on infrastructure projects to boost the economy and create millions of job opportunities.
In a statement, Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte asked Congress to support the commitment of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to stick with, and even expand, the “Build, Build, Build” initiative on infrastructure projects in such priority areas as health, education, agriculture, livelihood, information technology and tourism—or the HEAL IT sectors.
Villafuerte said a P1.5-trillion economic stimulus package, which he and three other Bicolano legislators have proposed in a measure dubbed the Bayan Bangon Muli (BBM) bill, will “enable the Marcos administration to hit its target of expanding the economy by 6.5 percent to 8 percent, pulling down the poverty incidence to just 9 percnt, and propelling the Philippines to the status of an upper middle-income country during President Marcos’s term.”
Villafuerte sought the speedy approval of House Bill (HB) 271, or the National Economic Stimulus and Recovery Act of 2022, that “will let President BBM sustain and even expand the unmatched high spending on infrastructure development initiated by his predecessor, Mr. Duterte, while focusing such fresh investments on building and improving facilities for the new government’s priority areas that Mr. Marcos had listed in his first SONA, including the HEAL IT sectors.
Villafuerte said HB 271 that he and fellow Camarines Sur Reps. Miguel Luis Villafuerte, Tsuyoshi Anthony Horibata, and Bicol Saro Rep. Nicolas Enciso VIII filed at the onset of the 19th Congress “will let President BBM realize his SONA-declared intent to ‘build better more’ by prioritizing the funding of projects that target infrastructure building down to the barangay level, with the HEAL IT sectors as the focal point of public investments. Our proposed three-year, P1.5-trillion stimulus plan is anchored on the premise that the poor are provided priority employment and income-earning opportunities, particularly in the countryside to accelerate regional growth and boost rural incomes.”
Villafuerte is confident that the Marcos administration can raise enough funds for this proposed P1.5-trillion stimulus and recovery plan, given the assurance by Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno in a post-SONA briefing by the President’s economic team that the improved tax system inherited from the previous Duterte administration would let Malacañang continue and even expand the previous government’s infrastructure program.