CONGRESS should prioritize the passage of the P1.65 billion supplemental budget should it hold a special session.
This is the appeal of Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles, a member of the Lakas-CMD, as he expressed support for the call to conduct special session.
Nograles believes that the national government is on the right track in addressing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), particularly on the consideration of special session.
“Suportado natin ang panawagan na special session unang-una para maaksiyunan ang supplemental budget na hinihingi ng Department of Health para matugunan ang COVID-19,” Nograles said.
Before the Lenten break, the House Committee on Appropriations chaired by ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap was able to approve the P1.65 billion supplemental budget at committee level but it failed to be passed on third reading because of lack of certification from the executive.
The supplemental budget is intended to respond to the current health crisis.
The DOH originally sought P2.35 billion, however, it was raised to P3.1 billion because of the need to procure more test kits, personal protective equipment (PPEs), and pay the salaries of additional frontline personnel recruited to battle the virus.
The neophyte lawmaker said Congress is ready to do its part to help arrest the spread of the disease.
He admitted there would be challenges to convening a quorum amid the enforced quarantine, but expressed confidence Congress could come up with creative ways to get around these challenges.
“Nariyan ang teknolohiya na tutulong sa atin. I’m sure we can work through a virtual session that the public can also access through social media, among others,” Nograles said.
“Ang mahalaga, makapagpulong kami sa lalong madaling oras. Hindi lang ito usapin ng dagdag na budget. Kailangan din na magkaroon pa ng dagdag na mekanismo para matulungan ang mga mahihirap na limitado ang kakayanan na harapin ang panganib na dala ng sakit na ito,” Nograles added.