MANILA (UPDATE)-Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Saturday emphasized that the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act should expire on June 25, not on June 5, as one senator said.
“We maintain that the effectivity of the Bayanihan Act is governed by sunset clause of the law. It is effective until June 25, 2020,” Roque said in a text message to reporters.
The Senate on Thursday adjourned session without final approval of the Bayanihan to Recover as One bill, or Bayanihan 2, that would extend the validity of some provisions of Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1), which allows the government to disburse cash aid during the coronavirus crisis.
When asked if Bayanihan 1 must expire on June 5 without the approval of Bayanihan 2 (Senate Bill No. 1564), Senate Committee on Finance chairman Sonny Angara said it should.
“If the Constitution is interpreted strictly, where it says that emergency powers cease upon the next adjournment of Congress (both House and Senate), then yes, it would expire,” Angara said on Thursday.
Congress is adjourned sine die beginning June 6, Saturday, until July 24.
Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, or Republic Act 11469, was signed into law on March 25 and mandated to be in effect for 3 months until June 24.
It granted President Rodrigo Duterte additional powers to respond to the pandemic, such as the authority to realign items under the 2020 national budget.
On May 27, Roque said it would be ideal to extend the Bayanihan Act for 3 months more after June 24.
“I think the 3-month period is ideal. It is definitely necessary to give us 90 days and we’ll see from there if, at the end of 90 days, there is a need for emergency powers still, then it can be extended until December,” Roque said.
Meanwhile, Sen. Nancy Binay voiced her frustration at Malacañang for not certifying Bayanihan 2 as “urgent” since more than 7.3 million Filipinos are now jobless due to the pandemic and millions more are still awaiting government support.
“Sa panahong ito na lahat ay kapos at walang makapitan at di natin dapat hinahayaan na magkaroon ng gap sa pagbigay ng suporta lalo na sa mga pamilyang nawalan ng hanap-buhay. Di pa po tapos ang laban, pero bumitaw na ang gobyerno,” she said in a statement.
“Nasa ibang orbit ba ang mga Pilipino para iwanan sa ere?”
The national unemployment rate jumped to a record 17.7 percent during the coronavirus lockdown, official data showed.
The jobless rate in April translates to a total 7.3 million unemployed Filipinos, National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa said.