Palace hopes for 3-month extension of Bayanihan Act
Malacañang expressed hope on Wednesday that Congress would extend by at least three months a law, giving President Rodrigo Duterte the authority to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out the declared national policy amid the health emergency brought by the coronavirus disease pandemic.
Under Republic Act No. 11469, otherwise known as the Bayanihan Heal As One Act, which Duterte signed into law on March 24, 2020, it shall be in full force and effect only for three months, unless extended by Congress.
In a television interview, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace sees the need to extend the Bayanihan Act because there is no vaccine for COVID-19 yet.
"But the problem here with COVID is, without vaccine, we'll never go back to normal and it's still extraordinary," he said.
Roque acknowledged that with separation of powers, it could be "unreasonable" to expect that Congress would extend the law until Duterte steps down from power in 2022.
"I think the three-month period is ideal, although what (Socioeconomic Planning) Secretary Karl (Kendrick) Chua suggested is not too far away from the three-month period because we're already June," Roque said.
Chua reportedly proposed to extend RA 11469 until end of the year.
"It’s not a preference but I think it definitely is necessary to give us at least 90 days and we’ll see from there if at the end of 90 days, there’s a need for emergency powers still, then it can be extended until December," Roque said.
Asked of the specific provisions of the law that the Palace wants to extend, he said, "Well, the Bayanihan clause contains a sunset clause, three months from date of effectivity ‘no. So if it’s going to be extended, Malacañang would like to see that the bill itself, the sunset clause will be amended to provide for the extension of the emergency powers conferred by the President." Celerina Monte/DMS