Vaccines ‘only solution’ to jumpstart economy – Gatchalian

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said Monday that the COVID-19 is the “only solution” to jumpstart the economy.

The government started its immunization drive last week after the first batch of vaccines from Sinovac and AstraZeneca arrived through the global alliance COVAX facility.

“I think everyone shares the same feeling, the vaccine should come in as fast as it can. This is the only solution we have to jumpstart the economy,” Gatchalian told ANC’s Headstart.

“The only solution is the vaccine, that’s why the Senate approved the vaccine bill…We need the local governments, we cannot do this too centralized. We need the local governments to help buy and distribute the vaccines.”

Various local government units and the private sector have so far secured 17 million doses of from AstraZeneca expected to be delivered by mid-2021.

“I don’t see the point for Bayanihan 3. The 2021 budget is the Bayanihan 3…The items there are the items recommended by the executive department to jumpstart the economy, help the MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises), and help rollout the vaccines,” he said.

Vaccines ‘only solution’ to jumpstart economy – Gatchalian

“Some of the items in Bayanihan 2 are still waiting to be disbursed…I think one of the most important things is not only approving the law but pushing for the full implementation of the law.”

Gatchalian added the chamber is working on a guide bill which will “give government additional firepower to lend to MSMEs and strategic businesses.”

Last month,  presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said President Rodrigo Duterte will not endorse the proposed P420-billion stimulus package proposed by Speaker Lord Allan  called “” to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roque said the P4.5-trillion 2021 national budget and the P165-billion Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan 2) law are enough to address the effects of the pandemic.

Earlier, Velasco, author of the proposal, along with Marikina Representative Stella Quimbo, said Bayanihan 3 could help boost the economy after sinking to a minimum of 9.5% by the end of 2020 — the lowest since 1946.