MANILA, Philippines There is no need to rush the passage of a bill to revive and extend the Bayanihan Act as the government still has enough resources to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Malacaang said Tuesday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the executive branch has not requested the holding of special sessions to pass the Bayanihan Act extension because the measure can be tackled when Congress resumes sessions.
"There is no need to rush because we already have everything we need for COVID-19...It does not have to happen overnight. I hope it happens soon, but for now, we do not have a request for a special session," Roque said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
"It seems that Bayanihan II can be discussed during the regular congress because after all, (the) State of the Nation (Address) is just around the corner in July," he added.
Congress adjourned last month without passing the bill extending the Bayanihan Act, a law that granted President Rodrigo Duterte additional powers to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The bill, which allowed the president to realign funds to support pandemic-related measures, expired last June 25.
Roque previously said members of the economic team are working with lawmakers to thresh out a proposal to fund a stimulus package to revive the pandemic-battered economy.
"We are making sure that we have enough funds for the stimulus package. The position of (Finance) Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez is we can only afford up to P140 billion. I think that will be realized," the Palace spokesman said.
Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado previously said the executive branch cannot request a supplemental budget because the country does not have new revenue sources and excess tax collections.
State revenues have taken a hit because of quarantine restrictions that forced thousands of businesses to close shop. The combined collections of the internal revenue and customs bureaus from January to May decreased to P874.91 billion, 24.83 percent short of what was collected in the same period last year.