No work, session at Senate until March 24 as chamber remains on lockdown
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate suspended its plenary sessions and work in the chamber until Wednesday, Mar. 24, next week, as the chamber remains under lockdown due to 24 reported COVID-19 cases among its staff.
“Because of the recommendation of the medical services and the secretariat of the Senate, we have to declare a lockdown from tonight until Tuesday (Mar. 23) evening. We will resume Senate work on Wednesday (Mar. 24),” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said during Wednesday’s plenary session.
“We recommend to our colleagues that all the committee hearings you want to do will have to be virtual. There will be no one in the Senate from tonight up to Wednesday,” he added.
According to Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, the upper chamber has recorded a total of 24 Covid-19 cases among its employees.
“I believe Congress (House) is also going on lockdown. We have 24 confirmed Covid-19 cases from our personnel and Congress, I believe has 28. So humahabol na tayo,” Zubiri said.
“I believe [there are] 80 [cases] at the GSIS (Government Service Insurance System), itong katabi natin [na building],” he added.
Earlier in the day, Sotto expected that the Wednesday session would last about 30 minutes to pass some franchise bills, but it ended up for more than four hours.
Sotto attended the session physically with three other senators.
“We have decided to extend [the session],” Sotto said, explaining that the Senate needs to accommodate some local bills that have been languishing in the chamber.
“If we do not do anything now, we will not be able to take it up next; it will have to be taken up in May,” he added. Congress will go on break on Mar. 27 and will resume on May 17.
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