Palace: Three-month extension of Bayanihan law ‘ideal’
MANILA, Philippines — A three-month extension of President Rodrigo Duterte’s special powers to address the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) health crisis under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act will be “ideal,” Malacañang said Wednesday.
“I think a three-month period is ideal,” said Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in an interview over ANC, when sought for comment on the law’s extension.
Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier said Congress may have to amend the law or introduce a new measure extending the President’s special power.
Bayanihan to Heal as One Act has a sunset clause limiting its effectivity to only three months after being signed by the President. Duterte signed the measure into law on March 25.
“But the important thing is if Congress gives us three months, 90 days, they will still be in session when the emergency powers seize because they are still in session in September and they can give the emergency powers if they wish to, and if Malacañang would request,” Roque said.
“I think it, definitely, is necessary to give us at least 90 days and we’ll see from there if at the end of 90 days, there’s a need for emergency powers still, then it can be extended until December,” he added.
A bill seeking a three-month extension of Duterte’s special powers to address the COVID-19 pandemic has already been filed in the House of Representatives.
Among the additional powers granted to the President under the law was the authority to give some 18 million low-income households emergency subsidy amounting to P5,000 to P8,000 for two months.
Duterte, for a limited period, was also granted powers to reallocate government funds to measures against COVID-19.
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