The Lower House through its COVID-19 cluster has carried Rep. Edgar Chatto’s thematic and essential ammendments to a major legislation curing the unemployment ill of the pandemic, which yet seems defiant to preventive protocols.
Chatto introduced changes to the proposed COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (CURES) Act to expand its priority areas from “HEAL” to “HEAL IT.”
The measure originally prioritized the areas of health, education, agriculture and livelihood (HEAL), but Chatto added information technology infrastructure and tourism (IT).
“These thematic areas, I submit, would serve as important catalysts in helping the country rise, socially and economically, from the ill effects of the pandemic,” the Bohol First District solon explained.
Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte, Jr., a main CURE Act proponent, and the bill co-authors agreed that with Chatto’s ammendments, the HEAL IT will more reflect the active stance of Congress in dealing with the viral scourge.
Himself a co-author of the measure, Chatto thanked Villafuerte, who co-chairs with Rep. Lucy Torres Gomez the Social Amelioration Defeat COVID-19 Cluster (DCC) Sub-Committee of the House of Representatives.
Information communications technology (ICT) and tourism provide employment to millions of Filipinos.
Chatto said that with their given global impact, the ICT and tourism will usher in a “better new normal” for the country, “hopefully sooner,” with appropriate strong intervention by the government through the law.
As then governor, Chatto innovated the “HEAT IT” program for the areas of health, education, agriculture, tourism and information technology.
Making the IT infrastructure and tourism as parts of the CURES Act priority areas gives these agents of change the recognition and needed boost this trying time, co-authors agreed with Chatto.
The CURE proposal or House Bill 6709 reads, in full title, as “An Act Establishing A COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus Fund and Instituting Mechanisms for the Implementation Thereof and Appropriating Funds Therefor.”
The following Chatto ammendments were also carried:
*Establishmemt of IT-enabled famers training center with well-equipped high-speed internet and latest computer, upskilling the farmers with advance technique and providing assistance in online selling and financial literacy by means of digital payment;
*Establishment in each LGU of a research and information center, with digital platform for public use and training for the youths and students;
*Purchase and deployment of mobile network POPs (telecommunications points of presence), parked at selected municipal halls in each province and capable to expand the coverage of the cell site. This telecommunications infrastructure covers has an approximate 50-100-kilometer radius and improves and extends internet connectivity without putting a new tower;
*Strengthening of the offices involved in information communications technology in every LGU towards the acceleration of the digitalization of the locality;
*Development, establishmemt and implementation of digital platforms in doing government transactions;
*Improving government processes towards paperless communications;
*Construction, repair or maintenance of medical clinics in major tourism destinations and supply of necessary instruments for adequate response to emergencies;
*Construction, repair, improvement of roads, bridges and other infrastructure leading to identified tourism destinations;
*Construction and maintenance of rest rooms, washing and sanitation facilities, including the installation of sanitation devices at parks and in common areas in public tourism destinations;
*Construction, improvement, maintenance of wastewater treatment and solid waste management facilities in identified tourism destinations; and
*Ensuring compliance by tourism stakeholders with the international environmental standards.
The Chatto-ammended proposed CURES Act was also introduced by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Reps. Paolo Duterte, Loren Legarda, Ferdinand Martin Romuladez, Eric Yap and Michael Defensor, among others.