Cagayan de Oro solon wants to extend Duterte’s special powers for 3 months
MANILA, Philippines — Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez is seeking to extend for three months the special powers granted to President Rodrigo Duterte under the Bayanihan Act to combat the pandemic.
In a statement on Monday, the lawmaker urged Congress to extend the President’s powers until September as the country faces a health emergency due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The House and the Senate passed last March 24 the Bayanihan to Heal as One law to give President Duterte special powers for three months “to respond to the crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
However, Rodriguez noted that two months after the effectivity of the law, the pandemic is still ravaging the country as new confirmed cases are still being reported.
To date, there are 14,035 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, of which 3,249 have recovered while 868 have died.
“It is therefore clear that the pandemic will not be over by June 24, 2020. As such, we need to extend the effectivity of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act and give the President additional time to address the pandemic,” Rodriguez said.
He will file a bill for the extension of the powers on Tuesday.
The lawmaker then urged the leaders of Congress to consider approving the proposed extension before their “annual mandatory adjournment next weekend.”
He noted that if the bill fails to hurdle Congress before Saturday next week, the President will have to call for a special session during the recess should he want his special powers extended.
Under the Bayanihan act, President Duterte’s special powers include providing financial assistance of P5,000 to P8,000 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 frontline health workers.
Rodriguez noted that the financial aid for this month amounting to P100 billion has yet to be distributed, while the Department of Health and its hospitals are still awaiting a large portion of procured medical supplies.
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