Duterte to call for special session; Solons to discuss Bayanihan II

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MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte and solons seem to have a clear plan to stimulate the economy. With that, Duterte called for a special session to discuss details on Bayanihan II.

In the special session, solons will discuss details on the Bayanihan to Recover as One. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque communicated the said details on Thursday through a virtual briefing.

Roque sounded optimistic in breaking the news. He stated that although there is still no timeline, this action is a first for the finance department.

“There’s no timeline yet but this is the first time I heard (Finance) Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez say that the issues have been ironed out more or less,” Roque added.

This is the first time Dominguez called the legislature to conduct a special sesssion. This is to convene on the said matters.

With the said session, solons have about three weeks to pass the law. Hopefully, before the opening of regular sessions on July 26.

The agenda of the said session is to restore the emergency powers of the president. The president’s emergency power lapsed last June 25 when the three-month validity expired.

READ: Roque: No need to rush Bayanihan II, everything is ok

Republic Act No. 11469 or Bayanihan to Heal as One Act allowed the president to re-allocate government funds. The executive postponed original projects from the 2019 and 2020 budget for the COVID-19 response.

Through March and June, the government has allocated some P374.9 billion for the pandemic. The government used the fund to cover aides and other miscellaneous in the COVID-19 response.

Budget restrictions according to Karl Chua

In the Bayanihan II, the Palace together with the senate will redistribute the P4.1 trillion fund.

They will also increase capital in state banks, giving them P170 million more. This fund will cater to displaced workers, teachers, and other sectors affected in the crisis.

On the other hand, acting National Economic Development Authority chief Karl Chua expressed worry on budgeting. He brought to light that the budgey can not go beyond P4.1 trillion.

Chua expressed his worry that “both constitutional and prudence requirements” disqualify the possibility of fund increase.

He stated that they will have to identify new revenue sources to fund any increase. Chua clarified that the Constitution prohibits them from acquiring any more loans.

“We have actually used that provisions for Bayanihan I. We have some more left for Bayanihan II,” Chua said.

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