President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued Proclamation No. 933 on March 21, 2020, where he called on Congress to a special session that it may pass a law authorising the President to exercise the necessary powers to carry out the urgent measures to meet the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) national emergency.
The Constitution grants the President the right to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared national policy, for a limited period and subject to restrictions that Congress may impose.
The declared national policy is to stop the spread of the coronavirus that threatens the public safety. To implement the same there are urgent measures that the President may need to effectively thwart the proliferation of COVID-19. The authority sought may include permitting the President to fund projects calculated to respond swiftly to the evolving health crisis, as well as allowing him to re-align funds in the national budget. They are to be channelled to where they are needed to effectuate the success of the national objective of eliminating the grave threats facing the nation and satisfy the food requirements of those economically dislocated by reason of the forced home quarantine specially those belonging to the marginalized or vulnerable sectors of society during its implementation.
Congress will be meeting today, March 23, 2020, to deliberate on the proposed bill to authorise the President to undertake the urgent appropriate measures required to cope with the national emergency. The President is utilising all the resources of the government to secure the safety of all Filipinos.
We appeal to our countrymen not to listen to any false news or untrue information designed not only to mislead but also to create panic and anxiety.
Let us join hands in solemn prayers for our health front liners who put their lives on the line daily as they treat those who have the virus. Three of our doctors have died and a number of them in critical condition due to the coronavirus. An increasing number of Filipinos are succumbing to the deadly disease. We must all take care of ourselves because in doing so we take care of others.
Salvador S. Panelo
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel
& Presidential Spokesperson