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Senate rescheds COVID-19 hearing to May 18

The Senate Committee of the Whole on Thursday decided to reschedule the series of COVID-19 hearings it was set to hold next week.

According to the amended notice, the legislative hearing on updates regarding the pandemic situation in the Philippines that is originally scheduled for May 11 will be moved to May 18.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said the adjustment was made after officials from the executive department requested for a week to prepare.

"That's okay with me," he said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III added that the executive branch "will be very busy in the next few days to convene and present to the President the updates and reports for the President's decision before the 15th."

May 15 is the last day of the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine over Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon and other high-risk areas in the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to announce if this will be modified or extended further.

The heads of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, as well as economic managers, were initially slated to appear as resource persons on the Senate Committee of the Whole's hearing which seeks to provide policy direction for lawmakers who will craft the economic stimulus package and other legislative measures suitable for the country amid the global pandemic.

On Thursday, the Philippine Statistics Authority announced that the country's economy contracted by 0.2% in the first quarter of 2020, the weakest pace in at least two decades.

An online hearing will also be conducted by the Senate committee on public services on Monday morning regarding the situation in the transport sector. — RSJ, GMA News