Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea insists government will not abuse emergency powers

by Jet Hitosis
Mar 23, 2020
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea: “The power to take over is intended merely as a standby power in the event that the crisis reaches its worse, when our most critical institutions are nearing a total shutdown, and government is left with no choice but to take over these establishments."
PHOTO/S: pia.gov.ph

Hindi aabusuhin ng Malacañang ang emergency powers na hinihiling nito sa Kongreso upang matugunan ang krisis na dulot ng coronavirus disease o COVID-19.

Ito ang tiniyak ni Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea sa harap ng mga kongresista nang dumalo siya sa special session ng Kamara sa Batasan Complex sa Quezon City nitong Lunes, March 23.

Ang special session ay hiniling mismo ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa Kongreso nitong Linggo, March 22, “to authorize the President to exercise powers necessary to carry out urgent measures to meet the current national emergency relating to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)”

Lumiham din ang Pangulo sa Senado nitong Linggo para hilingin ang agarang pagpapasa ng panukala, na magdedeklara ng national emergency sa bansa dahil sa COVID-19.

Ang hinihiling na mga karagdagang kapangyarihan para sa Presidente ay nakapaloob sa tinatawag na Bayanihan Act of 2020.

Sa Kamara, ang panukala ay binigyan ng House Bill No. 6616, at sponsored ni Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte, ng Camarines Sur.

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Ang bersiyon nito sa Senado ay ang Senate Bill No. 1413, na inakda nina Senate President Tito Sotto at Senator Pia Cayetano.

ADDITIONAL POWERS FOR PRESIDENT DUTERTE

Hiling ng panukala ang 18 karagdagang kapangyarihan para tiyaking epektibong matutugunan ni Pangulong Duterte ang COVID-19 crisis.

Sa special session ng Kamara—na sa unang pagkakataon ay gumamit ng teleconferencing kaugnay ng mandatory home quarantine—tatlo sa 18 hinihiling na “authorized powers” ang pinagdebatehan.

Una, ang pagre-realign ng pondo ng 2020 national budget sa mga bagong programa para tugunan ang COVID-19 pandemic.

Pangalawa, ang alokasyon ng pondo at investments ng government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) at ahensiya ng gobyerno “for whatever purpose the President deem necessary and desirable” para sa emergency.

At pangatlo, ang pansamantalang pag-take over sa operasyon ng alinmang pribadong kumpanya o public utility sa kapakinabangan ng mga apektado ng pandemic.

Ang mga establisimyentong posibleng i-take over ay ang mga ospital at iba pang medical facilities, mga hotel, public transportation, at telecommunication entities.

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EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EXPLAINS “POWER TO TAKE OVER”

Kaugnay nito, tiniyak ni Secretary Medialdea sa mga kongresista na ang gobyerno “simply desires to be equipped with all the legal authorities necessary for us to serve our people during this crisis in the most expeditious way.”

Giit pa ni Secretary Medialdea: “The President and his administration have no intention at all to use these powers to its own advantage but only for our people’s advantage.”

Bagamat inisa-isa ng opisyal ang mga dagdag-kapangyarihang hinihingi ng Pangulo, partikular na ipinaliwanag niya ang hiling na pagte-take over sa mga pribadong establisimyento.

“And now I come to the requested power that has been steering some controversy since yesterday, and I believe unjustifiably so—the power to take over private establishments.

“Even as originally worded, the intent of the proposal was to simply grant the government the standby power,” ani Medialdea.

Aniya, sa ngayon ay hindi kailangang gawin ito dahil nakikipagtulungan naman sa pamahalaan ang mga nabanggit na establisimyento.

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“We only desire to have such power to be legislated because the virus we are up against is so unpredictable and can spread rapidly in a community.

“The power to take over is intended merely as a standby power in the event that the crisis reaches its worse, when our most critical institutions are nearing a total shutdown, and government is left with no choice but to take over these establishments,” paliwanag ni Medialdea.

Sa House session, inaprubahan ng Committee of the Whole ang panukala para sa deliberasyon.

DELIBERATIONS UNTIL MIDNIGHT

Sabay na nagsagawa ng special session ang Kamara at Senado simula nitong Lunes ng hapon.

Bagamat kapwa inaprubahan ng dalawang Kapulungan ang masusing pagtalakay sa deliberasyon sa Bayanihan Bill, hindi pa ito natatapos pagdebatehan hanggang sa mailathala ang report na ito.

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Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea: “The power to take over is intended merely as a standby power in the event that the crisis reaches its worse, when our most critical institutions are nearing a total shutdown, and government is left with no choice but to take over these establishments."
PHOTO/S: pia.gov.ph
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