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Palace: PH in ‘good shape’ in terms of medical supplies, but Duterte needs emergency powers

By: Krissy Aguilar - Inquirer.net | June 24,2020 - 04:11 PM

MANILA, Philippines — While the Philippines is in “good shape” in terms of medical equipment for its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response, President Rodrigo Duterte will still need emergency powers to expedite purchases, Malacañang said Wednesday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement as the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which granted the President additional powers, is set to expire on Thursday, June 25.

“For now, we have everything that we need. Of course, we would need to have emergency powers again because it takes forever to comply with the Procurement Act for purposes of emergency medical purchases,” Roque said in an interview over ANC.

“The most important power we can no longer exercise is the purchase of COVID, medical-related materials. And so far, I think we’re in good shape,” he added.

Roque said the Philippines already received one million personal protective equipment out of the eight million it placed a bid for.

Ventilators the government ordered are also being distributed to medical facilities, he added.

“So I think for the immediate future, I think we already have what we need,” Roque said.

“I guess the problem will be in the medium term when the equipment we have on storage will be used up,” he went on.

‘Stimulus package soon to be agreed on’

The Palace official also expressed optimism that the Executive branch and both houses of Congress will soon agree on the stimulus package to the economy post-COVID-19 pandemic.

Roque earlier said Malacañang prefers a stimulus package that the country can afford and does not require “too much borrowing.”

“I’m confident that time will come that the Executive and both houses of Congress can agree on something and we can then ask Congress to hold a special session,” Roque said.

Among the bills legislators were tackling before the session adjourned sine die were the proposed P1.3-trillion Accelerated Recovery and Investment Stimulus for the Economy of the Philippines and the P1.5-trillion COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction and Economic Stimulus.

But Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the legislature would commit an “unconstitutional act” if it insists on passing the bills since it cannot be funded.

/MUF

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