Palace: No special session for 'Bayanihan' 2

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Palace: No special session for 'Bayanihan' 2
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

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang will no longer call for a special session to pass a bill that will fund a stimulus package to revive the economy and extend the emergency powers that strengthened the government's response to the pandemic.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said lawmakers can take up the measure when they start their regular session in two weeks.

"I don’t think we will be calling for a special session because Congress will be reopening in a matter of two weeks anyway. So, it will be discussed already in the second regular session of the 18th Congress," Roque told ABS-CBN News Channel yesterday.

Congress will start a new regular session on July 27. Roque said the bill would allot P140 billion for a stimulus package and bankroll contact tracing efforts and the benefits of health workers.

The administration had sent mixed signals on holding special sessions to pass the extension of the Bayanihan Act, a law that provided the government additional powers to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Earlier this month, Roque said the executive branch would request for a special session because the extension of Bayanihan is needed to boost the campaign against COVID-19, which has infected more than 57,000 people in the country. He revealed later on that officials were still deciding whether to call for special sessions because the start of the regular session of Congress is approaching.

Bayanihan Law, which allowed the President to realign budget items to fund coronavirus response efforts and fast-track the purchase of needed medical supplies. expired last June 25. Roque previously said a three-month extension of the law is "ideal."



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