DOF says P130-B stimulus program ‘appropriate,’ as departments wish for more

MANILA, Philippines – Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez said that the economic team-backed P130-billion stimulus program is “appropriate” for the year, even as cabinet secretaries wished for more.

At the marathon Senate hearing on coronavirus measures, Dominguez was asked by Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto and Senator Imee Marcos, on separate occasions, whether the proposed P130-billion stimulus fund would be enough.

“At this point in time, we estimate that the stimulus program will be appropriate for the rest of the year,” Dominguez told Marcos, the Senate economic affairs chair, on Wednesday, May 20.

The economic team previously met with lawmakers at the Senate and the House of Representatives to propose the PH-Progreso program, of which only P131 billion would be the additional spending on top of the 2019 and 2020 general appropriations law.

The biggest chunk of the proposed fiscal stimulus package (P70 billion) would go to the Development Bank of the Philippines, Land Bank of the Philippines, and the Philippine Guarantee Corporation; the emergency subsidy program to assist 9 million families (P30 billion); wage subsidy (P21 billion); and procuring additional test kits (P10 billion).

Congressmen had earlier argued that the amount is not enough to propel the economy.