Lawmakers wish PBBM will include pandemic recovery plans in his SONA

Filipino lawmakers wish and hope President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. Will unveil his plans on how to help the country can rebuild and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and rising inflation during his first State of the Nation Address.

Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera said Marcos should come up with a new “master plan” that would tackle the country’s pandemic recovery.

“We expect the President to unveil a roadmap to help the country recover from the impacts of Covid-19 for the next six years or so,” she said.

Herrera also said she is interested to know new sources of revenue for the government to fund the recovery initiatives. . “Where would the government get the funds to finance the costly recovery efforts for our economy and our citizens from the Covid-19 pandemic)?” she asked.

The lady lawmaker said she also looks to the President’s strategy to fight inflation, which pushes more people into poverty.

“Too many families feel the squeeze of higher costs of food, transportation and other basic commodities and services, which are induced by the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine,” she noted.

Herrera said. “Just like others, I am eager to know how this administration will lower the costs for Filipino families.” She suggested that the government continues to provide economic relief that will support households and businesses, particularly micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), until the virus is contained.

“Although the economy has recovered somewhat in the first quarter of this year, millions of Filipinos who lost their jobs remain unemployed. The economy operates far below its capacity and the recovery appears to be stalling,” she added.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, meanwhile, said the importance of cheaper fertilizers in the government’s efforts to lower food prices amid a global food price surge would “almost certainly be mentioned” in Marcos’ first SONA.

“One of his quickest victories as Agriculture Secretary can be fertilizers. I commend his effort to pursue government-to-government procurement of fertilizers. That gets rid of a lot of middlemen margins,” Salceda told media.

Aside from government-to-government procurement, Salceda said Marcos should also consider releasing fertilizer discount coupons, backed by the national government and good as currency when buying fertilizers.

“The tradeable coupons are very strategic at this point, because regardless of whether the farmer beneficiary actually uses them or trades them with another farmer, the end result will be that the discounted fertilizer will find its way into the farm, and that will hell bring higher yields for key crops, while also helping address high fertilizer prices,” Salceda explained.

The World Fertilizer Price Index indicates that current prices are 75% higher year-on-year. “I think PBBM can score very quick and extremely useful wins as Agriculture Secretary by focusing first on fertilizers. It is the most important short-term intervention,” Salceda said.