Senate bill filed to extend Bayanihan law for 3 months
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri has filed a bill extending the validity of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act until September 30, 2020.
Under the current law, the additional powers granted to President Rodrigo Duterte to address the coronavirus pandemic will expire by June.
“The extension will allow the President to continue to exercise the realignment of items in the national budget and other powers granted to him under the said law to be able to provide emergency support for vulnerable groups and individuals, expand medical resources to fight COVID-19, and finance emergency initiatives to keep the economy afloat,” the bill’s explanatory note read.
The measure seeks to amend the sunset provision of the law limiting its effectivity to only three months. A similar bill has been filed in the House of Representatives.
The Bayanihan law was approved by Congress in an hours-long special session on March 23. Duterte signed the measure into law on March 25.
Among the additional powers granted to the President under the law was the authority to grant a P5,000to P8,000 cash assistance per month for two months to some 18 million low-income households.
Duterte, for a limited period, was also granted powers to reallocate government funds to measures against COVID-19.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III recently expressed confidence that the extension of the Bayanihan law would be approved by Congress before its sine die adjournment on June 3.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has so far killed over 900 in the Philippines, triggered government-imposed lockdowns, displaced nearly three million Filipino workers and crippled the economy.
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