MANILA – Amid the ongoing Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, a lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Friday suggested that voting be done through text messaging when Congress convenes in a special session to pass the supplemental budget to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement, Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga said the House can relax its rules to allow a change in the voting process, especially in times of national health emergency.
“I suggest that voting be done through short messaging system or text. Papaano mo naman papupuntahin physically sa House of Representatives ang members na nasa mga probinsiyang malalayo, iyung nasa Bicol, Visayas, at Mindanao (How would you physically gather members of the House of Representatives who are already in distant provinces such as Bicol, Visayas, and Mindanao)?,” Barzaga said.
“As President of the National Unity Party (NUP) party, I can represent and manage the ‘long-distance’ plenary participation of my colleagues in the party. If a House member questions that before Supreme Court, I don’t think it will prosper,” Barzaga added.
He also urged the media to give “equal prominence” to the positive developments on Covid-19 to inspire people to unite and contribute to the global fight against the pandemic and help suppress panic. “
“Let’s put emphasis on patients whose conditions are improving or have recovered from Covid-19 and don’t forget the statement of the World Health Organization that 80 percent of infected patients experience mild illness and eventually recover from the disease,” he said.
“Putting emphasis on positive developments will increase people’s hope and optimism that this problem shall pass and better days are coming ahead,” he added.
House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said the chamber would impose social distancing measures as it prepares to convene in a special session.
“The House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, is now preparing to convene in a special session for coronavirus disease funds,” Romualdez said.
“This is a call of duty and we are committed to responding to President Duterte’s request to ensure possible quick response to defeat Covid-19, help Filipinos living below the poverty line, protect people in the frontline, and map out other contingency measures,” he added
President Rodrigo Duterte has called on Congress to hold a special session to pass a supplemental budget to prevent the spread of Covid-19 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.
He said both Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Speaker 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. (PNA)