It’s all for the response against COVID 19
UPDATE: In a follow-up article by Inquirer, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo clarified that the letter they sent to Congress is only asking President Duterte “to carry out urgent measures to implement the national emergency,” and not to ask for emergency powers.
“Nothing there says emergency powers,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said in a text message.
The Office of the President is asking Congress to declare a national emergency and to grant President Rodrigo Duterte special powers to address the problems brought on by the pandemic.
A letter sent to Senate President Vicente Sotto III dated March 21, 2020, Duterte certified the need to immediately enact the proposed measure that essentially allows the government to temporarily take over or direct operations of privately-owned businesses and utilities to help fight the disease.
“Pursuant to the provisions of Article VI, Section 26(2) of the 1987 Constitution, I hereby certify to the necessity of the immediate enactment of the attached Bill…in order to authorize the President to exercise powers necessary to carry out urgent measures to meet the COVID-19 national health emergency,” the President said in the letter transmitted to the Senate by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
The measure will allow the government to temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately-owned public utility or business affected with the public interest, which would include hotels, public transportation, and telecommunications.
The same bill will also allow the president to purchase goods like testing kits, lease properties and construct temporary medical facilities without going through rules on procurement, as well as require businesses to prioritize and accept contracts for materials and services in connection with the fight against COVID-19.
The Senate will hold a special session to discuss the bill at 10 am Monday.
The House of Representatives is also expected to discuss a counterpart bill.