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Senators call for special session on supplemental budget vs. COVID-19

Senators from the minority bloc on Sunday called for a special session of Congress to approve a supplemental budget to ease the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) threat to the livelihood of Filipinos and the Philippine economy.

“In view of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, we in the Minority call for a special session of Congress to pass a supplemental budget to address the pandemic and help affected Filipino households, workers, and businesses," the minority senators said in a statement.

According to them, the supplemental budget should be used to procure testing kits for massive COVID-19 testing, relief goods for vulnerable individuals; additional health personnel, medical equipment such as protective gear and hospital beds, and vitamins and medicine.

It should also cover "cash support or basic income grant for the daily wage earners and the unemployed who don’t have sick and vacation leaves; and subsidy or easy loans to help businesses, especially the micro and small ones, keep afloat during this period.”

Minority senators include Leila De Lima, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, and Francis Pangilinan.

The House Committee on Appropriations last week approved the P1.6 billion supplemental budget to cover expenses in addressing the effects of COVID-19 in the country.

Albay Representative Joey Salceda is also urging the House leadership and President Rodrigo Duterte to convene a "virtual" special session of Congress to enact special powers and supplemental budget to address the socio-economic effects of COVID-19. —Erwin Colcol/LBG, GMA News