Duterte to call for special session of Congress for additional COVID-19 funds: Panelo

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 20 2020 12:19 AM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will call for a special session of Congress to pass a supplemental budget to fund the government’s fight against the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

"Kaya nga magpapatawag ng special session ang presidente, para yung P1.6 billion na budget eh maipasa na," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told ANC.

"Basta marami, maraming gagawin ngayon ang Kongreso kaugnay dito. Kasi seryosong seryoso si Presidente, kailangang sirain na natin ang virus na ito," he added.

The Senate earlier said it will convene in a special session either on Saturday or Monday to deliberate Duterte's request for a P1.6 billion supplemental budget.

“Most” senators have committed to be “physically present” in the special session even while Luzon is placed under a month-long quarantine, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said.

Former Special Assistant to the President, now Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, said House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has also committed to “tackle and pass appropriate measures granting a supplemental budget” for COVID-19.

The Philippines is under a state of calamity as the government had to tap into quick response funds to provide basic goods like food and medical equipment to frontline workers battling the disease.

The government also needs more funds to support indigent families who now have no income due to the mandatory suspension of public transportation, malls, and other non-essential establishments in areas under quarantine.

In the Philippines, the global pandemic has infected 217 patients, 17 of whom died, 8 recovered, while the rest is still recuperating from the disease.

Globally, COVID-19, which originated from Wuhan, China, had killed 8,000 people and infected 200,000 others.

- with a report from Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News