Senate suspends sessions on August 9 to 11

The Senate will not hold plenary sessions from August 9 to 11 as the government imposes anew the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila.

Senate of the Philippines' plenary hall (Senate PRIB)

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri confirmed to reporters on Monday, August 2, that senators have agreed to suspend plenary sessions when the strictest quarantine protocol takes effect on August 6.

"Yes, that’s confirmed," he said in a text message.

Metro Manila will be placed under ECQ from August 6 to August 20 to address the surge in COVID-19 cases due to its Delta variant. Following the announcement last Friday, Zubiri said they are mulling to suspend plenary sessions.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III explained last Saturday, July 31, that the chamber's employees might encounter difficulties in commuting, even as they work on a skeletal schedule.

Zubiri, on Monday, said the Senate leadership they will study whether or not to still push through with conducting hybrid committee hearings

"I'm checking about committee hearing kung pwede pa (if we can). Ang mahirap kasi sa (The challenge with conducting) hearings we still need stenographers and of course they can’t come to the Senate," the Senate leader said.

"Wala naman silang equipment sa bahay. So baka 'yan wala din (They would also need their equipment. So we might not hold hearings, too)," he said.

Senators have expressed support for the reimposition of the ECQ, but also appealed to national and local authorities to provide the much-needed assistance to families and workers who would be displaced by the repeated quarantine protocol.