Sotto says 2020 nat’l budget enough, no need for special session for COVID-19 supplemental funds
MANILA, Philippines — There is no need for Congress to convene a special session to pass a supplemental budget addressing the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday said that funds under the 2020 national budget are “enough” to combat the spread of the respiratory virus, and there is no law that needs to be passed immediately.
“What for? Ano ipapasa namin na kailangan agad? Budget is complete and available with the Executive department, late filing of taxes can be waived, curfew can be imposed by local government units (LGUs). Anong batas ang kailangan?” he told reporters in a Viber message, when asked if Senate will hold a special session via teleconferencing.
(What for? What would be passed that is urgent? Budget is complete and available with the Executive department, late filing of taxes can be waived, curfew can be imposed by LGUs. What law is needed?)
“Executive department has more than enough (budget). The Department of Budget and Management Secretary even said before,” he added, when asked if the Senate will tackle a supplemental budget for the COVID-19 threat.
Minority bloc senators earlier called for a special session to pass a supplemental budget that would address the virus crisis.
For the House of Representatives’ part, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said the lower chamber is ready to hold a special session should President Rodrigo Duterte call for one online.
“Ang botohan ay electronic and through Facebook transmission or media na lang ‘yung discussions, if and when there are urgent bills na kailangan ipasa,” he told reporters in a press conference Monday.
(Voting would be electronic and through Facebook transmission or media for discussions, if and when there are urgent bills that need to be passed.)
To date, the Philippines has recorded a total of 140 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 12 deaths.
President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire island of Luzon under “enhanced community quarantine” “effective immediately” as confirmed cases continue to rise in the country.
Under an enhanced community quarantine, “strict home quarantine shall be implemented in all households; transportation shall be suspended; provision for food and essential services shall be regulated; and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures will be implemented.”
The World Health Organization declared the disease as a global pandemic after it killed nearly 5,000 people and infected 110,000 others worldwide.
The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses named the novel coronavirus as SARS-CoV-2.
The virus causes mild symptoms such as fever and cough for most people but can cause serious illness such as pneumonia for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.
Coronavirus is a family of viruses, whose surfaces have a crown-like appearance. The viruses are named for the spikes on their surfaces.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.