Proposed Senate bill will not give Duterte emergency powers: Sotto
Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday clarified that the proposed Senate Bill 1413 will not grant President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers.
"(The public) should not be afraid about the emergency power, there is no emergency power in the bill, I was the author and I filed that," said Sotto.
"We are talking about the authority to use the funds available and generally," he added.
The Senate Bill 1413 or the "We Heal As One Act" authored by Sotto and Senator Pia Cayetano authorizes Duterte to "exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out declared national policy" for a limited time to respond to COVID-19 related issues.
Also under the Senate bill is the authority to granted to the president to use funds needed for programs and other measures to be taken in countering problems during the public health emergency.
The Senate bill, compared to the recently passed House Bill 6616 or the "Bayanihan Act of 2020" will however not use, reallocate, or realign any appropriations under the General Appropriations Act of 2020 (GAA 2020).
"The funds to be used will not be from the General Appropriations Act of 2020 (GAA 2020), it will instead be from Government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs). In other words, off-budget, so there's nothing to be worried about," explained Sotto.
Sotto said the Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will be ordered to work together in processing the distribution of cash assistance. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS