Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said lawmakers can take up the measure when they start their regular session in two weeks. ?
STAR/Geremy Pintolo, file
Palace won’t call for special session on stimulus package
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - July 16, 2020 - 12:00am

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 of government in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-9) 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 ANC yesterday. ?

Congress will start a new regular session on July 27.

Roque said the bill would allot P140 billion for a stimulus package to 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 address COVID-19. ?

Earlier this month, Roque said the executive branch would request for a special session because the extension of Bayanihan was needed to boost the campaign against the pandemic.

He later said officials were still deciding whether to call for special session as the start of the regular session of Congress is approaching. ?

The Bayanihan Law, which allowed President Duterte to realign budget items to fund coronavirus response efforts and fast-track the purchase of needed medical supplies, expired last June 25. Paolo Romero

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