House heeding Duterte’s call for special session to pass supplemental budget for COVID-19 prevention

Published March 20, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ben Rosario 

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday said the House of Representatives will heed the call of President Duterte for a special session and will take all necessary measures to strictly observe “necessary social distancing protocols.”

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (RTVM / MANILA BULLETIN)
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano

He gave the assurance despite confirmed reports that two Lower House employees have tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19. One of the two, a 41-year-old male, had already died.

Further, numerous lawmakers who attended the Committee on Health hearing on COVID-19 early this month have put themselves on 14-day self-quarantine.

As of this writing, however, President Duterte has not yet issued the special session call.

Minority Leader and Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. said the minority bloc supports the “special joint session of Congress” sought by the executive department.

“Our experience in the first few days of the Luzon lockdown should compel us all to act. It is not enough that we compel our citizens to stay home – government must find ways to take care of them, especially the poor and elderly,” said Abante.

In a press statement, Cayetano said the Lower House is ready to hold a special session in which it is expected to pass the supplemental budget to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“The House of the People stands ready to respond to the call of the President for a special session to pass measures, including a supplemental budget that would give the executive department more flexibility in containing the spread of COVID-19, and help ease the burden brought about by the pandemic among our nation’s most vulnerable sectors,” said Cayetano.

The House official has made several assurances to the executive department that congressmen will be ready to hold special sessions as required by the President.

READ MORE: Duterte calls on Congress to hold special session