Camarines Sur Representative Luis Raymun “LRay” Villafuerte on Saturday, July 17, welcomed the creation of the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) Task Force that would pursue the implementation of a ₱24-billion wage subsidy program for private sector workers.
He said this should be complemented by the government’s “Balik Probinsiya, Balik Pagasa” (BP2) program that aims to generate a lot of new jobs outside Metro Manila.
“The BP2 program and the NERS strategy will complement each other, which is why I urge the Congress to swiftly pass the BP bill when the Senate and the House of Representatives resume session this month after the sine die adjournment,” Villafuerte said in a statement.
Last month, President Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 140 officially adopting the NERS as the government’s master plan for the restoration of the country’s labor market.
Trade secretary and NERS Task Force chairman Ramon Lopez said the program can help retain jobs for as many as one million workers, and that this Task Force will also push the passage of legislation and policies that strengthen economic and employment recovery.
Villafuerte said the BP2 program should be in the list of legislative priorities of the NERS Task Force.
He pushed for his House Bill (HB) No. 6970, which seeks to fast-track the implementation of the BP2 program by establishing township revitalization programs nationwide to decongest Metro Manila and create more opportunities in rural communities amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have a long way to go before we can recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. We need stimulus measures with immediate impact like the BP2 program to revitalize local economies outside Metro Manila,” Villafuerte said.
“Until we achieve herd immunity, business and consumer confidence will remain lethargic because people will still think twice about going out and spending their money for fear of the lethal virus. We need to transition at the soonest to investment-driven growth to reinvigorate the economy. This is why we are calling for the quick passage of the Balik Probinsya bill to encourage businesses to shift their investments and create more jobs in the countryside,” he appealed.
Villafuerte has appealed to President Duterte to certify as urgent the nearly year-old Balik Probinsiya measure.
He said the Palace’s endorsement of HB 6970, which sets up a national action plan (NAP) for President Duterte’s BP2 program, would also complement the recent presidential declaration as urgent measures for congressional approval of three pending bills geared to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to the country–the Foreign Investments Act (FIA), Public Service Act (PSA) and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RTLA).
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