Duterte to call for special session for 'Bayanihan' extension after all
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea together with 21 congressmen hold a banner saying, “Together with doctors and front liners, we went to work for you, so please stay at home for us.”
The STAR/Boy Santos
Duterte to call for special session for 'Bayanihan' extension after all
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - July 2, 2020 - 8:34pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang will ask Congress to hold special sessions for the bill reviving and extending President Rodrigo Duterte's emergency powers to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and funding a stimulus package to revive the pandemic-hit economy.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the executive branch and the legislature have threshed out a proposed extension of the Bayanihan Act, a law that granted Duterte additional powers to respond to the pandemic and that expired last June 25.

"There is no timeline yet but it was the first time I heard (Finance) Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez) saying that more or less, they have threshed out (the proposal) and it was the first time he confirmed that we would request a special session from Congress," Roque said at a press briefing.

Roque noted that the special session would be held before the president delivers his fifth state of the nation (SONA) address this month. The president's SONA marks the start of a new regular session in Congress.

Roque said the stimulus package would cost P140 billion, the amount that the government can afford as it grapples with lower tax revenues due to limited business activity.

Last Tuesday, Roque said there is no need to rush the approval of the extension of the Bayanihan Act because the government still has enough resources to respond to the pandemic. The extension may be discussed during the regular session of Congress, the Palace spokesman had said.

The administration, however, has since decided that the passage of the bill is necessary.

"Secretary Dominguez said we need it so I am announcing that we will be asking for a special session because it seems that the content of the 'Bayanihan' II legislation has been threshed out," Roque said. 

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