President Duterte Has Been Granted Special Powers to Combat the Spread of COVID-19

It's official.

It’s official: President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act.

The measure, which was passed in Congress on March 22nd and passed in the Senate earlier today, grants Duterte special powers to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines. This includes the power to steamline the accreditation of COVID-19 testing kits, to regulate the distribution of resources and utilities, to allocate government funds as necessary, and to direct private hospitals and other establishements as public interest requires.

You can read through the bill in its entirety here.

“To the Filipino people, rest assured that your entire government is working hand in hand to safeguard your health, safety, and wellbeing in the face of threat posed by COVID-19,” Duterte said as he addressed the nation this evening.

Duterte also took the time to thank the Congress and Senate for their support, the military and police for maintaining order, and, most notably,the country’s frontline healthworkers, saying he was saddened to hear that the coronavirus has claimed the lives of Filipino doctors.

Lahat po sila ay bayani. Not only that, talagang bumilieve ako. Bihira ako sumaludo ng tao, pero ang mga doctor natin at mga healthworkers na nadsigrasya, talagang saludo ako sa inyo,” he said as he addressed the nation tonight.

The president guaranteed that basic necessities will be provided to citizens as the nation combats the deadly virus, and that financial assistance will be extended to marginalized and vulnerable sectors.

Halos lahat ho ay makakatangap, he said. “Gagawin namin ang lahat. Hindi namin kayo papabayaan.”


He also called on the Filipinos to help fight the spread of the virus by following guidelines set by the government and local officials, saying “nothing is more important than your cooperation.”

“I repeat, stay home, wag matigas ang ulo. The outcome of this war depends largely on you as well,” Duterte stressed duing his speech.

“We will not leave anyone behind,” Duterte said as he assured Filipinos that the government is on top of the situation. “Sabay sabay natin labanan ang COVID-19 para sa kabutihan ng lahat.

“I ask the entire country for your patience, understanding and utmost cooperation. With your support, I am confident that we will emerge triumphant. Nothing is more formidable and resilient than the Filipino spirit.”

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