Emergency powers

May 27, 2020

PRESIDENT Duterte’s emergency powers end on June 30, but there’s now a bipartisan move in Congress – the Senate and the House of Representatives - to extend the said special authority.

The administration has sufficiently proven that the special powers have enabled concerned state offices and agencies to halt the further spread of the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

And well-meaning Congress observers see moves indicating the speedy approval of a measure to be filed by Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, a lawyer and a veteran lawmaker from Cagayan de Oro City

Rodriguez said the proposed measure seeks to extend President Duterte’s emergency powers for another three months (July-September) under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

Last March 24, the Senate and the House of Representatives passed the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act giving Duterte special powers to respond to the crisis brought by COVID-19.

The President’s special authority includes providing financial assistance of P5,000 to P8,000 to low-income households for April and May and realigning the budget to fund COVID-19 response.

Rodriguez said such powers are good for three months. Unfortunately, however, two months after the implementation of the Bayanihan law, the end to the pandemic is not yet in sight.

We, thus, urge the House of Representatives and the 24-member Senate to approve the proposed extension before the lawmakers’ annual mandatory adjournment next week.

Let’s give President Duterte special powers and additional time to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

If Congress fails to approve the extension of the special authority, then Filipinos are in for more problems.