MANILA – A lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Tuesday filed a measure seeking to extend President Rodrigo Duterte’s special powers under Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Law for another three months or up to September.
In filing House Bill 6811, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez stressed the need to extend the effectivity of the law and give Duterte additional time to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic grappling the country.
The special powers granted to the President to combat the Covid-19 health emergency is only valid for three months, unless extended by Congress. The law was signed on March 24, 2020.
“Such powers are good for three months. Unfortunately, two months after the effectivity of the law, the end to the pandemic is not yet in sight. There are still new Covid-19 positive cases being reported every day and the country is not yet fully operating,” he said. “It is therefore clear that the pandemic will not be over by June 24, 2020.”
He added that if the legislature fails to pass the bill next week, Duterte will have to call lawmakers to a special session during the recess if he wants his emergency powers under the Bayanihan law extended.
Congress has only until June 5 before the sine die adjournment.
The President’s special authority under the law includes providing financial assistance of ranging from PHP5,000 to PHP8,000 to 18 million low-income households for April and May, realigning the national budget to fund Covid-19 response measures, and procuring personal protective equipment and other supplies for front-line health workers. (ia/PNA)