Bill Granting Duterte 'Emergency Powers' Only Needs Duterte's Signature
Earlier today, the Senate approved the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. According to a Rappler report, Senate Bill (SB) No. 1418 was approved past 1 a.m., March 24, on the bill’s third and final reading.
The bill seeking to grant President Rodrigo Duterte ‘emergency powers’ was first introduced as SB No. 1413 during a special session in Congress yesterday, March 23. It was amended in the Senate later in the day before receiving approval. As of this writing, it is now awaiting the president’s signature.
The revised bill authorizes the president to “reprogram, reallocate, and realign from the savings on other items of appropriations in the FY 2020 General Appropriations Act.” It also gives the president the power to “direct the operation” of any privately owned hospitals, medical and health facilities, and other establishments to house health workers or serve as quarantine areas and medical relief distribution locations, provided that said actions are consistent with Article XIII, Section 17 of the Philippine Constitution.
According to the report, 18 million low-income families in the country will receive an emergency cash aid of P5,000-P8,000 through SB 1418. The law also stipulates a P100,000 compensation for public and private healthcare workers severely infected by COVID-19. Frontline workers who contracted the virus and died while in the line of duty will receive P1,000,000.
Once signed into law, the Act will take effect immediately upon publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper and shall be valid for three months unless extended by Congress. The powers may also be withdrawn sooner than the specified duration through a concurrent resolution of Congress or a Presidential Proclamation. To view the entire document, you can click here.
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