Lacson says 'necessary' to extend Bayanihan law to sustain COVID-19 response


Posted at May 21 2020 02:42 PM | Updated as of May 21 2020 02:49 PM

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MANILA - Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Thursday said extending the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act is "necessary" as it would further enable the government to continue its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic response.

"I think it's necessary. At the rate we are going, we cannot be out of this problem by June 24 and the Bayanihan Act will expire on June 24," Lacson said in a phone interview on ANC's Headstart.

The swiftly passed Bayanihan law granted President Rodrigo Duterte additional powers, such as the authority to realign items under the 2020 national budget, to respond to the pandemic. It was signed into law on March 25.

"I assume that Malacañang and the executive branch, they are already preparing a draft legislation to allow the President to continue enjoying the powers of realigning the budget and all other powers that we gave him under the Bayanihan Act, including exemptions from the [Republic Act] 9184 or the Government Procurement Act," he said.

Under the Bayanihan Act, Duterte is required to send a weekly report to Congress to detail how he used public funds in line with efforts to counter the global pandemic.

As of May 20, the health department reported 13,221 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 842 deaths and 2,932 recovery.