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Zubiri files bill extending Bayanihan law until September 30

A bill extending the effectivity of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (RA 11469) for three more months has been filed by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri in the upper chamber.

Senate Bill No. 1546, filed on May 26, acknowledges the existence of a continuing national emergency arising from the health situation.

It seeks to continue giving special authorities to President Rodrigo Duterte to effectively respond  to the COVID-19 pandemic until September 30, 2020.

Nonetheless, the powers granted under the Bayanihan law may also be withdrawn sooner by means of a concurrent resolution of Congress or ended by presidential proclamation.

Malacañang welcomed the filing of the bill.

“We welcome a 90-day extension of the special powers granted by the Bayanihan Act,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing.

A similar measure seeking to extend it until September has been proposed by Cagayan de Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez at the lower house.

The Bayanihan law was approved in a marathon session that lasted until the early morning of March 24. It was signed by Duterte into law on March 25 and was given an initial effectivity until June.

One of the key provisions of the measure was the emergency subsidy for around 18 million low-income families in the country for two months. An additional five million has been identified by the government for the second tranche of the P5,000 to P8,000 cash aid.

Asked if the same number of beneficiaries can be expected for the Bayanihan 2, Senator Panfilo Lacson said: "We will do the math better this time."

Senate President Vicente Sotto III earlier expressed confidence that Congress can extend the Bayanihan law before session adjourns next week— with Virgil Lopez/RSJ, GMA News