As COVID-19 continues to ravage lives and livelihoods across the globe, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has urged the international community to take a collective effort to address socioeconomic inequalities further exposed and exacerbated by the pandemic.
Velasco’s call was made in his remarks delivered virtually during the 2021 Global Parliamentary Workshop organized by the Paris-based The Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund on Monday.
“Even as this pandemic severely tests our respective health systems and economies, it can yet be our collective opportunity to harmoniously usher long-needed and wide-ranging socioeconomic reforms toward a definitive and sustainable path,” Velasco said.
“The pandemic continues to surface the fact that we are all interconnected. Individuals, communities, and nations form a chain, and we all have the responsibility to assure that our own link is not the weakest in the midst of this global threat,” he added.
The workshop served as a venue for legislators from all corners of the planet to engage in a dialogue with World Bank and IMF senior management to share lessons learned and strategies to achieve a sustainable and inclusive COVID-19 recovery and strong country outcomes.
Velasco led the House delegation to the workshop, which included Committee on Ways and Means chairman Joey Salceda of Albay, Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries chairman Junie Cua of Quirino and Deputy Minority Leader Jose Christopher Belmonte of Quezon City.
Addressing his fellow legislators, Velasco said the COVID-19 crisis offers a unique opportunity to “finally address long-standing social, economic and health inequalities.”
“As parliamentarians, we have the means to reallocate resources to where they can help our respective populations the most,” Velasco said.
He cited the need to come up with policies that would “benefit the unemployed and the informal sector, and support the marginalized, especially the young, the poor and women.”
Under Velasco’s leadership, the House of Representatives passed several legislation designed to boost the government’s response to the public health crisis, such as the P4.506-trillion 2021 General Appropriations Act and the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act, which was principally authored by the Speaker in the lower chamber.
Velasco is also pushing for his own version of the Bayanihan 3, which proposes a well-targeted and proportionate stimulus package worth P420 billion to help struggling Filipinos and revive the country’s pandemic-ravaged economy.