LIVE: House special session on bill giving Duterte emergency powers for virus outbreak
MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives will hold a special session at 10 am on Monday, March 23, to discuss the bill which would give President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to address the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Malacañang certified the need to immediately enact a bill that would declare a national emergency and give Duterte power to "reprogram, reallocate, and realign" funds.
The measure would also allow the President to "temporarily take over or direct the operation" of privately-owned utilities or businesses needed to address public needs during the coronavirus emergency, among others.
The House of Representatives, led by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, decided that only 20 lawmakers will be allowed to be physically at Batasan. The list has yet to be finalized.
The rest will have to use teleconferencing app Zoom for manifestation and interpellations. Votes will be cast through social messaging app Viber.
Two employees of the lower chamber have died of COVID-19.
As of Sunday, March 22, there are 380 patients who have tested positive for the virus, 25 of whom have died. – Rappler.com