Duterte assures stronger gov’t response to COVID-19 crisis with new special powers

Marje Pelayo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte expressed gratitude to Congress for granting the Executive branch special powers to strengthen the national government’s response to the current crisis on coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

On Wednesday (March 23), President Duterte signed into law the “Bayanihan to Heal as One” Act which will grant him authority to reallocate government savings to programs related to combating COVID-19.

“To the members of both houses of Congress who sponsored and voted for this measure, I express my sincerest gratitude to all of you for granting our most urgent requests,” the President said.

“Finally, the Executive Department can move, decide and act freely for the best interest of the Filipino people during this health crisis,” he added.

Under the new measure, the national government will allocate emergency monthly subsidy for the 18 million informal sector families in the country on the duration of the crisis.

Likewise, there will be ‘COVID-19 special risk allowance’ for all public health workers on top of their hazard duty pay, compensation for public and private health workers who contacted the disease while on duty, and for the relatives of health workers who died of COVID-19.

“Supplies of food, water and other essentials will be provided to you throughout this ordeal,” the Chief Executive stressed.

“Financial assistance will also be extended especially to those in the margins and the vulnerable groups,” he added.

Meanwhile, concerned agencies like the Health, National Defense, the Interior and Local Government and the Social Welfare and Development Departments are directed to collaborate for the implementation of the government’s national action plan against COVID-19.

Thus, the Chief Executive called for cooperation from all government employees on the matter.

“To my fellow public servants, let us set aside our differences and work in solidarity to overcome this pandemic. We only have one common enemy and that is COVID-19,” the President appealed.



“Our transparency, integrity, accountability and responsiveness are needed and I expect all of you to exercise all these in safeguarding our fellow Filipinos,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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