• Melo Acuna

As predicted by House Ways and Means Chair Salceda, Emergency Powers passed by Committee as a Whole

House grants “emergency powers” to PRRD as Congressman Salceda predicted

MANILA – The House of Representatives’ Committee of the Whole approved the bill that would grant President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis in the country.

Members voted “ayes” and “nays” in approving House Bill 6616 which mandates the declaration of a national emergency due to the COVID-19 threat as it authorizes the chief executive to use his powers in dealing with the health situation “for a limited time and subject to restrictions.

One of the powers include the authority to “direct the operation of privately-owned hospitals and medical and health facilities, hotels and other similar establishments to billet health workers, serve as quarantine areas, medical relief and aid distribution locations, and other temporary medical facilities.”

The approved measure allows the President to direct the operation of public transportation systems to carry health, emergency and frontline personnel, and other persons.

He will be allowed to “reprogram reallocate, and realign any appropriation” in the 2020 national budget for any purpose the President may deem wise to combat the COVID-19 as well as cancel appropriated programs, projects as well as activities to generate savings.

It was Majority Leader Martin Romualdez who presided the session.

As early as last night, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jose Sarte Salceda said they will pass the proposed measure today.

The approval of the measure by the Committee of the Whole will mandate the House to have a working draft of the bill to be discussed in the plenary for second and third readings. (Melo M. Acuna

House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jose Sarte Salceda (Melo Acuna/F

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