Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri wants to extend the validity of the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act until 30 September 2020 to give the government more time to address the COVID-19 health crisis.
Zubiri filed Senate Bill 1546 to amend the effectivity clause of Section 9 of Republic Act 11469.
“Despite claims of flattening the curve, there is sustained local community transmission as more cases are reported daily. It is apparent that the country is far from seeing the end to this extraordinary situation and the threat to life and livelihood persists,” Zubiri said in his explanatory note.
The Bayanihan Act is set to expire in June, three months after its enactment on 24 March.
“The extension will allow the President to continue to exercise the realignment of items in the national budget and other powers granted to him under the said law to be able to provide emergency support for vulnerable groups and individuals, expand medical resources to fight COVID-19, and finance emergency initiatives to keep the economy afloat,” Zubiri, a recovered COVID-19 patient further explained.
The House of Representatives and the Senate will adjourn on 3 June. Congress has only three session days to pass the measure.
Senator Panfilo Lacson is confident that the bill for the extension of the Bayanihan Act can be passed by Congress like how they crafted the measure in just one on 23 March.
“We passed the Bayanihan Act all in a day’s work if you recall, with the House adopting the Senate version. Things may be different kung magkaiba ang dalawang versions at ayaw magbigay ng isa dahil magkakaroon pa ng bicameral conference at baka wala nang oras para mag ratify pa ang dalawang kapulungan,” he said.
In a television interview on Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said a three-month extension of the law giving President Rodrigo Duterte special powers to mobilize government resources to address COVID-19 would be ideal.