Senate may halt 2022 budget debates after DND chief contracts COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate may have to halt its plenary debates on the proposed 2022 budget after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who physically attended the deliberations on his agency’s funds, tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Baka ihinto muna ang hearings bukas dahil sa exposure,” Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri told reporters in message Wednesday.
“We may have to resume on Monday na para makapag-PCR test kami lahat over the weekend,” he added.
Before this, Zubiri told his colleagues in plenary that Lorenzana tested positive for the virus.
The defense chief confirmed this and said he received his result Wednesday morning from a swab test he took Tuesday afternoon following the Senate debates on the Department of National Defense budget.
“The proper protocol since we were exposed to Sec. Del yesterday. We must quarantine until Sunday. Testing…tapos kapag lumabas po na negative tayo, we can go back to work on Monday,” Zubiri said.
The majority leader recalled that the Senate faced a similar situation during last year’s budget debates.
It was Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) Director Isidro Lapeña who got COVID-19 at the time.
Lapeña had received his positive swab test result after the Senate deliberations on Tesda’s budget.
“I recall it was Sec. Lapeña, and shortly after, Sen. Bato dela Rosa also got hit” Zubiri recounted.
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