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Slow is better than stalled

Republika

The pandemic caused many restrictions in Metro Manila including those affecting transportation.

With public transport led by jeepneys and buses paralyzed, there’s a shift  to alternative forms of transportation like bicycles.

Demand for bicycles went so high lately shops are enjoying brisk sales to the point of running of out of stocks.

That’s not only good for shop owners but for the public as well because more use of bicycles means less use of vehicles with harmful emissions.

Harmful emissions from usually old public utility vehicles pollute air we breath and cause respiratory ailments that kill people especially senior citizens and those with delicate conditions.

With bicycle use increasingly going popular nowadays, chances are we’re going to have cleaner environment and better health.

More encouraging is the support of government for people who patronize bicycles as a reliable and accessible mode of transportation.

The government recently allocated P17 billion for infrastructure development that includes building of a network of safe and convenient bicycle lanes in Metro Manila.

If that pushes through, stopping me from using bicycle in my daily journeys would be very difficult.

***

The subsidy programs of the government for the poor are fast depleting the national coffers amid the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak.

With our CoVid 19 response also eating up a large chunk of the budget, authorities are scrambling for ways to raise funds.

In the meantime, lawmakers are pushing for a bill seeking for a bigger stimulus program to restart the economy.

However, Finance officials lamented they could not find sources of funds to support the measure filed in Congress.

Some pointed to the loans which the government recently secured from big lenders such as World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

But this was turned down by the Finance Department, saying the funds from the multi-million dollar loans are not qualified to back the lawmakers’ bill.

The question now is why are we borrowing more from these predatory lenders if it doesn’t help us get better?

As I see it, we can only go for an affordable stimulus program which could mean a slow way of getting the country back to its own feet.

Slow is better than not moving at all

***

The new case filed by the Bangladesh government against the resort and hotel business of tycoon Enrique Rason in connection wiith the $81 million money laundering scandal in 2106 is baseless.

Undaunted, Bloomberry Resorts & Hotels Inc. said it will defend itself from the complaints filed by the Bangladesh monetary authority at the New York State Court in another  bid to recover the money it lost in the crime.

Joining the company in the case are other Philippine entities.

According to the firm, the new civil suit came amid a pending appeal of the Bangladesh Bank at the US Circuit Court against the dismissal of its racketeering case against the same defendants.

The complaint in the State Court is for theft, misappropriation; aiding and abetting the same; conspiracy to commit the same; fraud (filed against RCBC), aiding and abetting and conspiracy to commit fraud; conspiracy to commit trespass against chattels; unjust enrichment; and return of money.

In February 2016,  unknown criminals used fraudulent orders on the Swift payments system to steal $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Along the course,the money went to fictitious accounts at Yuchengco Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC)’s Jupiter branch in Makati City. It later went to local casinos through Philrem. Then the money  went to Solaire Resort and Casino owned by Bloomberry.

For the meantime, Razon’s company is definitely not yet off the hook.

***

Banks in the country are stable but they shouldn’t be abused, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

The Philippine economy stays afloat amid the pandemic  because its supported by strong and well-capitalized banks, BSP governor Benjamine Diokno said.

However, Diokno said they should not be unnecessarily given more strain that what it is now taking from the ill effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 or CoVid 19 outbreak.

Diokno was reacting to reports of further postponement in loan payments  beyond June the moment lawmakers extend  the emergency powers of President  Duterte during the crisis.

Enacted in March 24, RA11469 or the Bayanihan To Heal As One Law is being eyed by Congress for extention  by another three 3 months from its scheduled termination on June 24.

“The strong and well-capitalized banking industry is one of the pillars of strength of the Philippine economy going into this once-in-a-lifetime health and economic crises,” Diokno said.

But Congress should be cautious not to unduly weaken them,  he added.

Borrowers affected by the outbreak benefit from the law which defers payment schedules for loans falling due during the quarantine period.

***

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