Mar 31, 2020

Last night, Mar. 30, President Rodrigo Duterte held a press conference at the late hour of 12 midnight, eight hours late from its originally announced schedule. In the televised public address, he states that the government has a P200 billion emergency fund which will be allocated to frontliners, medical improvements and recovery packs for low-income earners.

This press conference follows the President’s implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Republic Act No. 1146) which gave him additional powers in light of the pandemic. He stated that he has given the government departments their responsibilities in implementing this Act, giving them authority to implement what is needed of them.

[READ: The lowdown on the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act]

Two executive powers are left solely to the President, specifically the “power to direct the operation of private establishments and the power to require businesses to prioritize contracts, materials, or services necessary for the crisis.”

Duterte states that emergency assistance will be given to the affected sectors, especially those in low-income households and informal sectors, and those who are under no work, no pay circumstances. He states that this emergency support will be based on their region’s minimum wage. 

Farmers, fishermen and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will also be given these “recovery packages” to help with the economic effects of the pandemic. “The government is now employing quick response measures to help you during the crisis as well as to ensure food productivity, availability and sufficiency during the period of the pandemic,” says the President.

However, his economic team is still in the process of planning how this will be implemented.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) was also reported to give an amelioration grant of P5,000 to P8,000 for two months to eligible families who belong in vulnerable sectors, mandated under the Bayanihan Heal as One Act. They are still in the process of coordinating with local government units on its full implementation. 

He reiterates the unhampered flow of cargos and deliveries in order to maintain a steady supply of food and goods, as well as the already implemented price freeze for commodities. Following so, he states that those who are caught making profit or stealing from goods and funds will be detained. “Hindi ito panahon para kumita. Hindi ito panahon ng pagsasamantala.”

For the medical field, one million personal protective equipment are being acquired. They will also be upgrading their equipment, facilities and laboratories to better understand the spread of the virus in the country.

Duterte also began his address by finally thanking the frontliners, including the janitors, police, private sectors and even the local government units. He later also honors those who have died in the fight against the virus, considering them as heroes who are “lucky” to have died for the country. As he ends, he states “Huwag kayong matakot kasi may pera ako ngayon,” also assuring that no one will be left alone by the government.

There was no mention of mass testing and  an extended community quarantine.

 

 

 

 

Header photo courtesy of JM Aurelio from Inquirer.net

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Read more:

Duterte signs law declaring national emergency, granting special powers vs COVID-19

“Wag kayong matakot,” Duterte urges Filipinos vs. COVID-19 despite no concrete plans

What we know so far about Duterte’s proposed Bayanihan Act seeking national emergency, special powers

TAGS: coronavirus Duterte emergency funds enhanced community quarantine Press conference