MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has called on Congress to hold a special session to pass a supplemental budget that will be used to combat the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Duterte made the call following the recommendation of Senator Christopher Lawrence Go and other lawmakers.
In a press statement late Thursday, Go stressed the need for Congress to pass a measure granting a supplemental budget that can be used amid the government’s continuing efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“President Duterte has already responded to this recommendation and has called on Congress to hold the special session immediately,” Go said.
Go said the proposal to hold a special session was already discussed with Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
He said both Sotto and Cayetano have expressed readiness to hold a special session “at the soonest possible time.”
Go said the special session would be held either on Saturday or Monday next week.
“Based on our discussion, the priority is to ensure that additional funds can be allocated for immediate healthcare needs and for much-needed financial and food assistance to Filipinos, particularly the vulnerable sectors, daily wage earners and informal economy workers affected by the strict quarantine measures being imposed,” he said.
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country has climbed to 217.
Go ensured that the senators and congressmen would do their best to help the current administration in its fight against Covid-19.
“Both houses of Congress have expressed their commitment to find ways to respond to the needs of the people, especially at this time when decisive government action is imperative,” he said.
On Monday, Duterte inked Proclamation 929, placing the Philippines under a state of calamity for six months to allow the government to tap more funds, including the Quick Response Fund, to stop the transmission of Covid-19.
The Department of Health earlier asked Congress to approve the PHP2-billion supplemental fund to augment the government’s response against the novel coronavirus.
Earlier, Malacañang assured the public that the government has enough funds to address the Covid-19 outbreak in the country. (PNA)