President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday called on Congress to show the same vigor it gave in passing the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act in approving its second part, the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.
During his fifth State of the Nation Address, Duterte expressed his gratitude to lawmakers for the passage of the first Bayanihan Law.
"May I again reiterate my thanks to you, the men and women of Congress, for the effort you invested in passing that law," he said.
"I hope that we can get some of the same treatment of clarity of purpose and the fastness to support the passage of the Bayanihan to Recover as One which is supplement funds for the recovery and response against the impact of COVID-19 pandemic," he added.
According to Duterte, the interventions implemented by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19 has prevented as much as 1.3 to 3.5 million infections.
"We initially encountered difficulties ramping up our testing capacity. We now have 93 accredited laboratories nationwide and we are aiming to conduct 1.4 million tests by end of July and ensure a quick turnaround time of 48 to 72 hours," he added.
Duterte admitted, though, that there were difficulties in implementing the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), but he issued a warning to "opportunists" that delayed its implementation.
"Our implementation of the SAP was not perfect and some opportunists turned crisis into opportunity. We will catch up with you sooner that you think," he said.
Duterte also boasted other COVID-19 response programs for various sectors of the society.
"We came up with a COVID-19 adjustment measures program, extended financial assistance to over 650,000 affected individuals in the formal sector. Almost 83,000 repatriated OFWs were also provided temporary wage employed to displaced marginal workers through the TUPAD project," he said.
"Our indigent senior citizens were also provided with a stipend for the rest of the semester of the current year," he added.
The proposed Bayanihan to Recover As One Act is now being deliberated in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. — RSJ, GMA News