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Yellow virus strikes anew

“He vowed not to use both powers unless necessary, such as when the outbreak goes out of control despite the imposed community quarantine.

TEB

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The nitpicking detractors of President Rody Duterte chose to spray-blast the public on the timing of his address rather than what it actually contained and the message it imparted.

The Duterte Standard Time was propagated online by the yellow mob to criticize the supposed delay in the Monday address, which presidential spokesman Sal Panelo was clear in saying that it will be held “tentatively” in the afternoon of that day.

The critics also clearly instigated its foreign conduits to look at the new Bayanihan Law as the “broadening of authoritarian powers” of the Chief Executive.

The Los Angeles Times, for instance, wrote that President Duterte “has been given broad emergency powers to confront the health crisis, although lawmakers balked at a provision that would have let him take over private businesses.”

“Even so, rights groups were alarmed by the expanded scope of presidential authority,” it added.

The American newspaper compared the Bayanihan Act, which granted special authorities to Rody, as similar to the blanket power the Hungarian parliament gave to Prime Minister Viktor Orban to deal with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global threat.

Orban was allowed by his country’s legislature to rule by decree for an unlimited period.

It cited rights group’s branding the actions as a “coronavirus coup.”

Of course, the detractors are so busy concocting scenarios for their political agenda to bother with actually reading the Bayanihan Act or Rody’s first report to Congress on the progress of the Executive’s actions in the implementation of the law outlining the response to the virus threat.

The report to Congress actually indicated that some 30 special powers accorded to Rody under the law were spread out to government agencies except for two, which was to direct the operation of private establishments and government actions to obtain priority materials in the battle against the contagion.

He vowed not to use both powers unless necessary, such as when the outbreak goes out of control despite the imposed community quarantine.

The authorities granted the President are only those absolutely necessary, Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin Romualdez said.

Such authorities are needed “not only to control the COVID-19 pandemic now gripping the country, but also to immediately mobilize resources for the provision of basic necessities to families and individuals affected by the imposition of community quarantine, especially indigents and their families,” Romualdez said in his sponsorship speech of the bill.

The Bayanihan Act was primarily meant to feed for two months the 18 million low-income households affected by the enhanced community quarantine; to allow the immediate acquisition of medical equipment and supplies for doctors and health workers; to set up of testing facilities and laboratories to detect carriers of the virus; to assist farmers and fishermen to sell their products and to effect the smooth and efficient distribution of donations.

Likewise, the President spelled out the crucial actions needed to declog the supply chain, which was apparently affected by local government policies primarily on blockades that clashed with the government intent of allowing the free flow of commodities.

“The televised message of the President highlights the unimpeded supply of food and agricultural products as well the enforcement of the law against hoarders and profiteers,” according to Panelo.

“The President forcefully stresses the immediate suspension, arrest and the prosecution of errant local officials who will politicize the distribution of food packages and abscond the amelioration fund assistance to be given to their constituents,” Panelo added.

Bayanihan to Heal as One is not only the name of the law but the virtue that is required of Filipinos to beat the common enemy.

Otherwise it would have been called the Dilawan Divided We Fall Act.

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