President Duterte’s request for emergency powers to respond to covid-19 has been called by opposition critic Senator Risa Hontiveros “unnecessary”.
However, Pia Cayetano, author of the senate bill granting President Duterte emergency powers, quickly obliterated Hontiveros argument against the emergency powers.
Cayetano took to Facebook explaining why emergency powers is necessary for President Duterte to tackle the problem of the virus head on.
Hint? Remember the SC decision rendering the realignment of funds from one government department to another unconstitutional? Yes, the emergency powers solve this problem. That’s what Abad and Pnoy did.
Another problem that the emergency powers solve is our procurement law. This way, the government can purchase all the necessary equipments for our medical frontliners to face the virus with all the protection they need and the weapons to fight it. In addition, the FDA has been tasked to simplify the processes for approval or clearance of medical supplies to address the circumstances we are faced with today.
You may read original FB post below.
Special Power what? To do what?
Much has been said about this bill, sadly mostly by people who never even saw it.
Last night I sponsored a bill that granted the President the authority, only during this time of COVID-19, to do a number of things, which I’ll discuss below. No mention of emergency powers and no take over of businesses or public utilities. Nothing, nada. That was not in any senate bill.
The bill we passed, specifically gave the President the authority to provide 18 million families who are poor and from the informal sector with P5-8k/month, in cash or kind, depending on the region. That’s a total of P200 billion over 2 months.
The good news is we have funds, given our strong macroeconomic fundamentals and our effective debt management strategy we are in a good place financially. P175B is available from GOCCs alone, another P100B from various agencies of national govt.
Why did we need a law to give him this authority? The answer is simple.
Our Constitution and laws do not allow the President to move funds from one department to another.
There were also other matters we needed to do to address this massive health issue.
Our procurement law has a process which was designed with numerous safety nets but it is a tedious process. This led to delays and prevented lgus and agencies, including public hospitals from immediately purchasing supplies to address this crisis.
We also amended that in this bill to expedite the process of procurement. In the same way we mandated the simplification of the FDA processes for approval or clearance of medical supplies to address the circumstances we are faced with today.
That’s just one of the few things we did in this bill. There’s more like benefits to health workers, grace periods to pay loans, keeping the flow of food and essential goods going and more which I’ll share in my next post.
Meanwhile, I want to thank my colleagues in both Houses for working together to support this measure! It was an honor and privilege to sponsor and defend the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
And my Senate team, skeletal force! Could not have done this without you! Joei Teves
Source: Pia Cayetano