MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte should call for a special session of Congress to tackle and authorize the use of funds for another round of assistance to those affected by the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Tuesday.
“Maraming intelligence fund, anti-insurgency fund. Sa akin, kailangang tumawag ng special session ang Pangulo para po matugunan ito. Mag-realign ng mga items na hindi kailangan,” Drilon said in a radio interview over DZRH.
(There are a lot of intelligence fund, anti-insurgency fund. For me, the President needs to call for a special session to address the need for additional assistance. We can realign items that we don’t really need.)
Congress is currently on break and will resume session on May 17.
“Handa kami sa Senado na bumalik sa session para pagdebatehan itong batas na magbibigay ayuda para sa ating mga kababayan. Mayroong sapat na kapangyarihan ang Kongreso na ibinigay sa Pangulo para mag-realign ng budget, doon sa Bayanihan 2,” he added.
(We in the Senate are ready to go back and convene for a session to debate this proposed law that would provide assistance to Filipinos. The President also has enough power given by Congress to realign the budget.)
The proposed law Drilon was referring to is a third Bayanihan bill being pushed by several lawmakers. The measure seeks to provide funding to assist pandemic-hit sectors.
When the government enforced the ECQ from Mar. 29 to April 4, the President approved the distribution of P1,000 aid per person but not more than P4,000 for each household.
Malacañang, however, ruled out the possibility of providing additional assistance to ECQ-affected Filipinos even after the lockdown was extended for another week.
“Wala na raw extension dahilan wala ng perang. Sa akin, mali iyan. Dapat bigyan ng ayuda ang ating mga kababayan dahilan sa sila ay naghihirap dahilan naman sa hindi maayos na pagpapatakbo nitong pandemic response,” Drilon went on.
(They said there’s no extension of the aid because of the lack of funds. For me, that’s wrong. We should extend assistance to Filipinos because they are struggling due to the mishandling of the country’s pandemic response.)
Many have been rendered jobless to the imposition of lockdowns, he also said.
“Yung Bayanihan 3 para magkaroon ng karagdagang budget para matugunan itong milyun-milyong nawalan ng trabaho,” Drilon added.
(Bayanihan 3 will provide an additional budget to assist the millions who have lost their jobs.)
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