SEVERAL lawmakers have agreed to extend the effectivity of a law giving President Rodrigo R. Duterte special powers to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
“The emergency power given to the President must be extended in order to carry out a declared national policy,” Party-List Rep. Alfredo A. Garbin, Jr. told reporters in a Viber message on Friday, adding that the pandemic was likely to persist.
Mr. Duterte’s special powers will end once Congress adjourns next month.
Mr. Garbin said Congress should change the legislative calendar to ensure the special powers remain effective for three months.
Duterte was given the special powers including realigning the budget toward anti-COVID-19 measures on March 24. The law will expire on June 24.
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson told the ABS-CBN New Channel on Thursday the presidential palace should starting drafting a bill that wille extend the law’s effectivity.
“Yes, I support it,” Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez, who heads the House committee on constitutional amendments, said in a Viber message on Friday when asked about the extension. “We still have time.”
Party-List Rep. Michael T. Defensor said Mr. Duterte should call a special session during the adjournment from June 6 to July 24 so legislators can work overtime on COVID-19 response measures.
“I am in favor of extending our session if we have to work overtime on COVID-19 response measures and bills to stimulate the economy,” he said in a statement on Friday. — Genshen L. Espedido