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Emergency Powers 101: Everything you need to know about the powers granted to President Duterte

The CoViD-19 outbreak in the Philippines has prompted the national government to declare a state of calamity in the entire country, following the enhanced community quarantine placed in the whole of Luzon. The declaration was to ensure that emergency funds may be accessed to purchase the necessities such as CoViD-19 test kits and relief goods.

But the outbreak entails more than just emergency purchases, it also brings about some consequences to health, economy, and society. So to safeguard the country against these, the Congress granted additional powers to the president. This is called the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” certified as urgent by the president himself.

Here are the salient points under this act:


Also Read: LOOK: Netizens pledge twenty pesos for Filipinos most vulnerable to COVID-19


Economic and Financial Assistance

  • Monthly subsidies ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 should be given to 18 million low-income households
  • Enhanced Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps), basing on the needs of those affected
  • “CoViD-19 risk allowance” be given to all public health workers, in addition to their hazard pay
  • LGUs shall be authorized to use more than 5% of their calamity fund; additional funding by the national government may be given
  • Imported equipment and supplies that are necessary to combat the disease are exempted from import duties, taxes, and other fees
  • Deadlines for filing and submission of any documents, including payment of taxes and other fees and grant of any benefit, may be rescheduled by the president
  • 30-day grace period may be ordered for paying loans, credit cards, and rents; interests and penalties shall be waived



  • The president has the authority to adopt and implement measures deemed necessary to prevent or control the transmission of the virus 
  • Accreditation of testing kits and testing of PUIs and PUMs may be expedited by the president
  • PhilHealth may be ordered to shoulder all medical expenses of any health worker, both public and private, in case of any CoViD-19- or work-related injury during the health crisis
  • Public transportation may be ordered by the president to shuttle health, emergency, frontline personnel, and other people needed during the outbreak
  • The president must ensure that no unnecessary delays will happen in donation, acceptance, and distribution of CoViD-19 health products
  • The president has the authority to expedite procurement of goods such as medical equipment, such as personal protective equipment (PPEs) and laboratory needs
  • Hospitals designated as CoViD-19 referral hospitals and laboratories will be prioritized in the allocation and distribution of equipment


Also Read: Quarantine Update: DOT sets bus routes for health workers around Metro Manila


Public Order

  • The president has the authority to continue measures currently in place against hoarding, manipulation of prices, and other pernicious practices
  • Regulation and limitation of all forms of transportation and traffic along streets may be done by the president
  • Alternative working arrangements for the executive branch, and other branches of the government and private sector, may be authorized by the president
  • The president may order conservation and regulation of power, fuel, energy, and water resources to ensure adequate supply


Budgetary Provisions

  • Select programs or projects of any agency under the executive branch may be discontinued to allot the budget to CoViD-19 response initiatives
  • The president is authorized to utilize cash, investments, and other monetary resources held by any government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCC) for CoViD-19 response initiatives

As of writing, there are already 552 confirmed cases, 35 deaths including several frontliners, and 20 recoveries.


Text by Katie Rojas.

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