MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to certify as urgent the bill that seeks to extend his emergency powers for pandemic response and to bankroll a stimulus package that will jumpstart the economy.
Roque said the extension of the Bayanihan Act would be a "strong weapon" as the country seeks to respond to the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
"The Bayanihan 2 is there and I am sure it would be certified as urgent. It is one of the strong weapons we can use to recover from COVID," Roque said at a press briefing.
If a bill is certified as urgent, it may be approved by Congress on second and third reading on the same day.
The Bayanihan Act permitted the president to realign budget items to support coronavirus response efforts and to fast-track the procurement of needed medical supplies.
The law lapsed last June 25. Congress adjourned sessions last May without passing the measure extending the Bayanihan Act. Officials previously said the extension of the Bayanihan Act would also fund a stimulus package worth P140 billion, contact tracing efforts and the benefits of health workers.
Malacañang previously said Duterte would no longer seek a special session for the passage of Bayanihan 2 because the opening of the regular session of Congress is approaching.
Roque claimed Duterte has fulfilled his promise to provide a more comfortable life for all.
"It was somehow disrupted because of COVID but we still have two years remaining and the more comfortable life that Filipinos are enjoying will return. We just have to help each other," he added.
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