The “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act” (Republic Act No. 11469) grants Emergency Powers to President Rodrigo R. Duterte in order to address the national emergency brought about by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Under R.A. 11469 (update: implementing directives), the President shall have the power to adopt the following temporary emergency measures to respond to crisis brought by the pandemic:
Protection measures. Following World health Organization guidelines and best practices, the President shall adopt and implement measures to prevent or suppress further transmission and spread of COVID-19 through effective education, detection, protection, and treatment.
Testing kits. The President shall have the power to expedite and streamline the accreditation of testing kits and facilitate prompt testing by public and designated private institutions of persons under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs), and the compulsory and immediate isolation and treatment of patients: Provided, That the cost of treatment for COVID-19 patients shall be covered under the National Health Insurance Program of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.
Emergency subsidy for low income households. The President shall have the power to provide an emergency subsidy to around eighteen (18) million low income households, for a minimum of Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) to a maximum of Eight thousand pesos (P8,000.00) a month for two (2) months.
Benefits for medical frontliners. The President shall have the power to provide benefits to health workers, public or private, including hazard pay, treatment costs, P100,000 assistance for those who get sick in the line of duty, death benefit of P1,000,000, [For more discussion, see: Benefits for Medical Frontliners under the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act (Republic Act No. 11469)]
Direction over LGUs. The President shall have the power to ensure that all Local Government Units (LGUs) are acting within the letter and spirit of all rules, regulations and directives issued by the National Government pursuant to this Act; are implementing standards of Community Quarantine consistent with what the National Government has laid down for the subject area, while allowing LGUs to continue exercising their autonomy in matters undefined by the National Government or are within the parameters it has set; and are fully cooperating towards a unified, cohesive and orderly implementation of the national policy to address COVID-19. [See also: Criminal Cases Against LGUs Turning Away Food Cargoes, Blocking Roads]
Control over private businesses. For a limited time and for specified purposes, the President may direct the operation of any privately-owned hospitals and medical and health facilities including passenger vessels and, other establishments, to house health workers, serve as quarantine areas, quarantine centers, medical relief and aid distribution locations, or other temporary medical facilities; and public transportation to ferry health, emergency, and frontline personnel and other persons. [For more discussion, see: Government Take-Over of Private Businesses: The COVID-19 Crisis]
Anti-hoarding, anti-profiteering. The President shall continue to enforce measures to protect the people from hoarding, profiteering, injurious speculations, manipulation of prices, product deceptions, and cartels, monopolies or other combinations in restraint of trade, or other pernicious practices affecting the supply, distribution and movement of food, clothing, hygiene and sanitation products, medicine and medical supplies, fuel, fertilizers, chemicals, building materials, implements, machinery equipment and spare parts required in agriculture, industry and other essential services, and other articles of prime necessity, whether imported or locally produced or manufactured.
Expediting donation. The President shall ensure that donation, acceptance and distribution of health products intended to address the COVID-19 public health emergency are not unnecessarily delayed and that health products for donation duly certified by the regulatory agency or their accredited third party from countries with established regulation shall automatically be cleared.
Fast-tracking of procurement. The President may undertake the procurement of the following as the need arises, in the most expeditions manner, as exemptions from the provisions of Republic Act No. 9184 or the “Government Procurement Reform Act” and other relevant laws:
- (1) Goods, which may include personal protective equipment such as gloves, gowns, masks, goggles, face shields; surgical equipment and supplies; laboratory equipment and its reagents; medical equipment and devices; support and maintenance of laboratory and medical equipment, surgical equipment and supplies; medical supplies, tools, and consumables such as alcohol, sanitizers, tissue, thermometers, hand soap, detergent, sodium hydrochloride, cleaning materials, povidone iodine, common medicines (e.g., paracetamol tablet and suspension, mefenamic acid, vitamins tablet and suspension, hyoscine tablet and suspension, oral rehydration solution, and cetirizine tablet and suspension); testing kits, and such other supplies or equipment as may be determined by the DOH and other relevant government agencies.
- (2) Goods and services for social amelioration measures in favor of affected communities;
- (3) Lease of real property or venue for use to house health workers or serve as quarantine centers, medical relief and aid distribution locations, or temporary medical facilities.
- (4) Establishment, construction, and operation of temporary medical facilities.
- (5) Utilities, telecommunications, and other critical services in relation to operation of quarantine centers, medical relief and aid distribution centers and temporary medical facilities.
- (6) ancillary services related to the foregoing.
Humanitarian agencies. The President may partner with the Philippine Red Cross, as the primary humanitarian agency that is auxiliary to the government in giving aid to the people, subject to reimbursement, in the distribution of goods and services incidental in the fight against COVID-19.
Additional manpower. The President may engage temporary Human Resources for Health (HRH) such as medical and allied medical staff to complement or supplement the current health workforce or to man the temporary medical facilities to be established in accordance with R.A. 11469.
Credit for business. The President shall ensure the availability of credit to the productive sectors of the economy especially in the countryside through measures such as, but not limited to, lowering the effective lending rates of interest and reserve requirements of lending institutions.
Incentives for manufacturing and importation. The President may liberalize the grant of incentives for the manufacture or importation of critical or needed equipment or supplies for the carrying-out of the policy declared herein, including healthcare equipment and supplies: Provided, That importation of these equipment and supplies shall be exempt from import duties, taxes and other fees.
Food security. The President shall ensure the availability of essential goods, in particular food and medicine, by adopting measures as may reasonably be necessary to facilitate and/or minimize disruption to the supply chain, especially for basic commodities and services to the maximum extent possible.
Priority over supplies and services. The President may require businesses to prioritize and accept contracts, subject to fair and reasonable terms, for materials and services necessary to promote the declared national policy.
Regulation over transportation. The President shall have the power to tegulate and limit the operation of all sectors of transportation through land, sea or air, whether private or public.
Regulate access to roads. The President shall have the power to regulate traffic on all roads, streets, and bridges, and access thereto; prohibit putting up encroachments or obstacles; authorize the removal of encroachments and illegal constructions in public places; and perform all other related acts. [See also: Criminal Cases Against LGUs Turning Away Food Cargoes, Blocking Roads]
Authorize alternative work arrangements. The President shall continue to authorize alternative working arrangements for employees and workers in the Executive Branch, and whenever it becomes necessary. in other independent branches of government and constitutional bodies, and the private sector.
Conserving resources. The President shall conserve and regulate the distribution and use of power, fuel, energy and water, and ensure adequate supply of the same.
Extension of deadlines. The President is authorized to move statutory deadlines and timelines for the filing and submission of any document, the payment of taxes, fees, and other charges required by law, and the grant of any benefit, in order to ease the burden on individuals under Community Quarantine.
Grace period on loans. The President may direct all banks, quasi-banks, financing companies, lending companies, and other financial institutions, public and private, including the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System and Pag-ibig Fund, to implement a minimum of a thirty (30)-day grace period for the payment of all loans, including but not limited to salary, personal, housing, and motor vehicle loans, as well as credit card payments, falling due within the period of the enhanced Community Quarantine without incurring interests, penalties, fees, or other charges. Persons with multiple loans shall likewise be given the minimum thirty (30)-day grace period for every loan. [See Suspension of Rents and Loan Payments During the Covid-19 Lockdown]
Extension of rent payment. The President may provide for a minimum of thirty (30)-day grace period on residential rents falling due within the period of the enhanced community quarantine, without incurring interests, penalties, fees, and other charges. [See Suspension of Rents and Loan Payments During the Covid-19 Lockdown]
Expanded social amelioration programs. The President may implement an expanded and enhanced Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program, responsive to the need posed by the crisis, and provision of an assistance program, whether in cash or non-cash, whichever is more practicable, where the Secretary of Social Welfare and Development, or the Secretary of Labor and Employment, when relevant, shall transfer cash, cash voucher, or goods through the LGUs or directly to households who have no incomes or savings to draw from, including households working in the informal economy and those who are not currently recipients of the current Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program, of an amount adequate to restore capacity to purchase basic food and other essential items during the duration of the quarantine. To carry out this subsection, the Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment may approve the temporary emergency standards of eligibility and level of benefits.
Related powers. The President is authorized to undertake such other measures as may be reasonable and necessary to enable him to carry out the declared national policy subject to the Bill of Rights and other constitutional guarantees.
Reallocation/adjustment of funds. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, direct the discontinuance of appropriated programs, projects or activities (P/AP) of any agency of the Executive Department, including government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs), in the FYs 2019 and 2020 General Appropriations ACt (GAA), whether released or unreleased, the allotments for which remain unobligated, and utilize the savings generated therefrom to augment the allocation for any item directly related to support the operations and response measures, which are necessary or beneficial in order to address the COVID-19 emergency, consistent with the herein declared national policy.
- The President may lift the thirty percent (30%) cap on the amount appropriated for the quick response fund, as provided for in Republic Act No. 10121 or the “Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010”, during the existence of the sate of national emergency due to COVID-19.
- Any unutilized or unreleased balance in a special purpose fund, as of the date of declaration of a State of Emergency, shall be considered to have their purpose abandoned for the duration of the State of Emergency. All such unspent, unutilized or unreleased money or funds sourced from collections or receipts, including future collections and receipts, shall be utilized and are hereby appropriated for such measures to address the COVID-19 situation and accomplish the declared national policy herein.
- Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, reprogram, reallocate, and realign from savings on other items of appropriations in the FY 2020 GAA in the Executive Department, as may be necessary and beneficial to fund measures that address and respond to the COVID-19 emergency, including social amelioration for affected communities, and the recovery of areas, sectors and industries severely affected. All amounts so reprogrammed, reallocated or realigned shall be deemed automatically appropriated for such measures to address the COVID-19 situation within the period specified under Section 9 hereof.
- Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the President is hereby authorized to allocate cash, finds, investments, including unutilized or unreleased subsidies and transfers, held by any GOCC or any national government agency in order to address the COVID-19 emergency, as declared in Section 3 hereof.
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