Tell it to SunStar: Rep. Raul Del Mar explains ‘Yes’ vote

(Explanation of Vote of Rep. Raul Del Mar, 1st District, Cebu City, on House Bill 6166, “We Heal as One Act of 2020” or “An act to declare the existence of a national emergency arising from the coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) situation, a unified policy in connection therewith, and to authorize the President of the Philippines for a limited period and subject to restrictions, to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out the declared national policy and for other purposes.” Delivered on March 23, 2020)

Mr.Speaker and distinguished colleagues:

The danger to the nation and the rest of the world is clear and present. We should have acted boldly and drastically not yesterday, not a month ago, but months ago when the facts were clear enough to tell us of the hugeness of the crisis.

These are emergency powers the President is asking for, whether he calls them emergency or not.

They are emergency powers because:

One. There is a real emergency.

Two. The danger enormously threatens the life and well-being of millions of Filipinos, including my constituents in Cebu. Hunger and other deprivation, along with disease and death, lurk at the doors of several homes.

Three. The powers being asked for require the setting aside of existing laws that protect, among others, private rights to property and spending of public funds in ways never been done before.

But this is an extraordinary time, a time that no one, including the framers of the Constitution and the succession of high court decisions on basic rules of governance, ever even imagined.

The grant of the emergency powers must carry, however, the condition of accountability and judiciousness. In asking our people to follow the advice of government, we ourselves as representatives and lawmakers must trust the present leadership, subject to the restrictions that aim to protect the nation’s patrimony, institutions and civil liberties.

All public officials after all will be accountable to our people. Our people will judge us for what we do during our term in office, in good times or bad.

That is part of our oath, which gives supremacy to the interest of the country above any other consideration or interest.

I vote for giving the President all the tools and devices, all the weapons he says he needs to beat to the ground the coronavirus and to help the nation get back on its feet.

I vote for helping our constituents, more urgently the less privileged Filipinos who cannot work from home and must risk their lives to earn daily wage for their family and the doctors and nurses and health workers who brave the frontline of the battle against the disease. I vote for rescuing our economy and society from the shambles caused by the crisis.

On the wing of the nation’s hope and prayer, I vote for Yes.—Rep. Raul del Mar, 1st District, Cebu City