‘Emergency powers,’ unity sought in fight against coronavirus

WHILE President Rodrigo Duterte urged Congress to declare a national emergency, he also declared the fourth week of March the national week of prayer as the country continues to see a rise in confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.

In a letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Duterte said he is certifying as urgent the still-unnumbered Senate bill seeking to declare a national emergency and a unified national policy to address the pandemic. The bill also aims to authorize the President to “exercise powers necessary and proper for a limited period and subject to restrictions.”

As to the national week of prayer, the President issued Proclamation 934 urging “all Filipinos of all faiths, religious traditions and backgrounds to unite our hearts in prayer as we face the Covid-19 threat, fixing our eyes on the Almighty in this time of affliction.”

The President issued his proclamation on Saturday, March 21, 2020.

As of 4 p.m. Sunday, March 22, 2020, the Department of Health (DOH) recorded 380 Covid-19 cases nationwide, with 25 deaths. Many patients are still waiting for test results. (KAL)