The Bayanihan Act, approved by Congress last week, allows the President to direct the operation of privately owned hospitals, medical facilities and passenger vessels to provide accommodation to health workers and to set up quarantine or aid distribution sites.
Richard Madelo/Presidential Photo, File
Duterte: Reserve powers used only if absolutely necessary
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - April 1, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has assured the public that he would only direct the operations of private establishments – one of the powers granted to him by Congress to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – only when “absolutely necessary.”

The Bayanihan Act, approved by Congress last week, allows the President to direct the operation of privately owned hospitals, medical facilities and passenger vessels to provide accommodation to health workers and to set up quarantine or aid distribution sites.

The law also allows the President to direct the operation of public transportation to ferry frontline and emergency personnel.

Before the passage of the Bayanihan Act, some sectors expressed concern over a provision that would have allowed Duterte to temporarily take over “any privately-owned public utility or business affected with public interest” and use them to provide the public’s needs during the COVID-19 emergency. The Senate rejected the provision.

In a televised public address Monday night, Duterte said the powers to direct the operation of private establishments and to require businesses to prioritize deals for the purchase of materials and services needed to combat COVID-19 would be reserved “strictly” for himself.

“I will exercise these powers only when absolutely necessary,” Duterte said.

Duterte has placed the Philippines under a state of calamity and declared a public health emergency due to COVID-19, which has infected more than 2,000 people in the country and claimed nearly 90 lives. He has also placed the entire Luzon on enhanced community quarantine to contain the disease. 

BAYANIHAN ACT COVID-19 DUTERTE
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