Bayanihan to Heal as One Act

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Bayanihan to Heal as One Act
Coat of Arms of the Philippines.svg
Congress of the Philippines
  • An Act Declaring the Existence of a National Emergency Arising from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation and a National Policy in Connection Therewith, and Authorizing the President of the Republic of the Philippines for a Limited Period and Subject to Restrictions, to Exercise Powers Necessary and Proper to Carry Out the Declared National Policy and for Other Purposes
CitationRepublic Act No. 11469
Territorial extentPhilippines
Enacted bySenate of the Philippines
PassedMarch 23, 2020
Enacted byHouse of Representatives of the Philippines
PassedMarch 23, 2020
SignedMarch 24, 2020
Signed byRodrigo Duterte
EffectiveMarch 25, 2020
Date of expiryJune 24, 2020
Legislative history
Bill introduced in the Senate of the PhilippinesBayanihan To Heal As One Act
Bill citationSenate Bill No. 1418
Bill published onMarch 23, 2020
Introduced byTito Sotto, Pia Cayetano, Win Gatchalian, et. al.
First readingMarch 23, 2020
Second readingMarch 23, 2020
Third readingMarch 23, 2020
Committee reportCommittee Report No. 70
Bill introduced in the House of Representatives of the PhilippinesWe Heal As One Act of 2020
Bill citationHouse Bill No. 6616
Bill published onMarch 23, 2020
Introduced byAlan Peter Cayetano (Pateros–Taguig), et. al.
First readingMarch 23, 2020
Second readingMarch 23, 2020
Third readingMarch 23, 2020
Status: Expired

The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, also known as the Bayanihan Act,[1] and officially designated as Republic Act No. 11469, is a law in the Philippines that was enacted in March 2020 granting the President additional authority to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines.[2] The word "bayanihan" is a Tagalog word for communal work.

Background[edit]

Following the sharp increase of confirmed cases, Congress to hold special sessions on March 23 to enact the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act upon his request, which would "authorize the President to exercise powers necessary to carry out urgent measures to meet the current national emergency related to COVID-19 only for three months unless extended by Congress." The act would allow President Duterte to "reallocate, realign, and reprogram" a budget of almost ₱275 billion ($5.37 billion) from the estimated ₱438 billion ($8.55 billion) national budget approved for 2020, in response to the pandemic;[3] enable him to "temporarily take over or direct the operations" of public utilities and privately owned health facilities and other necessary facilities "when the public interest so requires" for quarantine, the accommodation of health professionals, and the distribution and storage of medical relief; and "facilitate and streamline" the accreditation of testing kits.[4]

Legislative history[edit]

Senators during a special session to tackle the passage of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, March 23, 2020

In the House of Representatives, the bill was introduced as House Bill No. 6616 with House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano of Pateros–Taguig as its principal sponsor and was defended on the floor by Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte of Camarines Sur's 2nd district. Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea addressed the session, stressing that the president needed "standby powers" to address the emergency.[5] Some representatives questioned the nature, usage, and necessity of the "standby powers", claiming its susceptibility to abuse and corruption.[6]

In the Senate of the Philippines, the bill was introduced as Senate Bill No. 1418 with Senate President Tito Sotto and Senator Pia Cayetano as its principal sponsors. Under the bill, Senator Cayetano said that over 18 million Filipino households living below the poverty line would also receive financial incentives of around ₱5,000–8,000 ($97.45–155.92) per month for two months.[7] Senators amended their version of the bill to include financial compensation of around ₱100,000 ($1,965.33) to be given by PhilHealth to health professionals who contracted the virus, as well as the provision of around ₱1 million-worth ($19,653.27) of financial aid to their families.[8]

Both versions of the bill reportedly removed the usage of the term "emergency powers", replacing it with "authority". It also removed the term "take over of public utilities and private businesses", limiting President Duterte's abilities at most to "direct the operations" of such enterprises.[9] The House version of the bill passed the House of Representatives in a 284–9 vote without abstentions,[10] while its Senate version unanimously passed the Senate.[11] President Duterte signed the bill into law the following day on March 24, 2020.[12][2]

Manila paper backlash[edit]

At the start of the special session at the House of Representatives, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano along with his fellow congresspeople, did a photo op showing Cayetano and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea holding up a board covered with Manila paper with the message, "Together with doctors and frontliners, we went to work for you, so please stay home for us."[13] This prompted an online backlash on social media with citizens criticizing the lawmakers for comparing themselves with the pandemic healthcare frontliners.[14] The photo also became fodder for memes with people replacing the Manila paper message with various images.[15][16] Cayetano responded to the backlash saying, "If you ask me to hold up a sign again, and even if the sign curses at me but it gets people to read and gets people to stay home, I will do it again and again and again."[17][18]

Expiration and extension[edit]

The law expired on June 24, 2020, without a resolution of it being extended. Although there were bills passed in Congress to extend the law until September 2020, the president did not certify these as urgent, prompting the bills to lapse.[19][20][21]

The distribution of the social amelioration program (SAP) and other cash aids from the Philippine government were not affected by the expiration of the law.[19]

The Bayanihan to Recover as One Bill, was filed on June 1, 2020.[22]

Provisions[edit]

The law provides the President of the Philippines the power to implement temporary emergency measures to respond to the crisis brought about by COVID-19, such as:[2]

  • adopting and implementing measures, which are based on World Health Organization guidelines and best practices, to prevent or suppress further transmission and spread of COVID-19 through education, detection, protection and treatment;
  • hastening the accreditation of testing kits;
  • facilitating prompt testing of patients under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs) as well as the immediate mandatory isolation and treatment of patients, the cost of which shall be covered by the National Health Insurance Program of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation;
  • providing an emergency subsidy amounting to five thousand pesos (₱5,000.00) to eight thousand pesos (₱8,000.00) to low income households based on prevailing regional minimum wage rates;
  • providing all public health workers with "COVID-19 special risk allowance";
  • directing the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation to shoulder all medical expenses of public and private health workers related to exposure to COVID-19 or any work-related injury or disease during the pandemic emergency;
  • providing a compensation of one hundred thousand pesos (₱100,000.00) to public and private health workers who contract severe COVID-19 infection while performing their duties and a compensation amounting to one million pesos (₱1,000,000.00) shall be given to public and private health workers who will die because of COVID-19;
  • ensuring that all local government units adhere to all the rules, regulations and directives issued by the national government with respect to this law as well as implement community quarantine consistent with the standards the national government has laid down;
  • directing the operation of any privately owned hospitals, medical and health facilities and other establishments to house health workers, serve as quarantine areas and centers, medical relief, aid distribution locations and temporary medical facilities provided that the management and operation of these establishments or facilities shall still be with the owners, however, unjustifiable refusal of the establishment or the facility to operate for this purpose may mean take over of the President of the Philippines on the operations of this establishment or facility with the limitations and safeguards stated in the Constitution;
  • directing public transportation to ferry health, emergency and frontline personnel as well as other individuals provided that the management and operation of this enterprise shall still be with the owner, however, unjustifiable refusal of the enterprise to operate for this purpose may mean take over of the President of the Philippines on the operations of this enterprise with the limitations and safeguards stated in the Constitution;
  • enforcing measures against hoarding, profiteering, injurious speculations, manipulation of prices, product deceptions, cartels, monopolies or other combinations to restraint trade or affect 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 for agriculture, industry and other essential services;
  • ensuring that donation, acceptance and distribution of health products for COVID-19 public health emergency are not unnecessarily delayed;
  • procuring of medical goods, equipment and supplies to be allocated and distributed to public health facilities that are designated as COVID-19 referral hospitals, private hospitals that are capable of providing support care and treatment to COVID-19 patients and public and private laboratories that are capable of testing suspected COVID-19 patients, in the most expeditious manner through exemptions from Republic Act No. 9184 or the "Government Procurement Reform Act" and other relevant laws;
  • procuring of goods and services for social amelioration measures, in the most expeditious manner through exemptions from Republic Act No. 9184 or the "Government Procurement Reform Act" and other relevant laws;
  • leasing of real property or venue for use to house or serve as quarantine centers, medical relief and aid distribution locations or temporary medical facilities, in the most expeditious manner through exemptions from Republic Act No. 9184 or the "Government Procurement Reform Act" and other relevant laws;
  • partnering with the Philippine Red Cross in giving aid to the people;
  • hiring temporary Human Resources for Health (HRH), who shall receive appropriate compensation, allowances and hazard duty pay, to complement or supplement the current health workforce or to man the temporary medical facilities;
  • ensuring availability of credit especially in the countryside by lowering the effective lending rates of interest and reserve requirements of lending institutions;
  • liberalizing the grant of incentives for the manufacture or importation of critical or needed equipment or supplies for carrying out of the policy of this law provided that importation shall be exempt from import duties, taxes and other fees;
  • ensuring the availability of essential goods by adopting necessary measures to facilitate and/or minimize disruption to the supply chain;
  • regulating and limiting operation of private or public transportation whether land, sea or air;
  • conserving, regulating the distribution and use as well as ensuring the adequate supply of power, fuel, energy and water;
  • moving statutory deadlines and timelines for filing and submission of any document, payment of taxes, fees and other charges required by law;
  • directing all private and public banks, quasi-banks, financing companies, lending companies and other financial institutions, including the Government Service Insurance System, Social Security System and Pag-ibig Fund to implement a grace period of 30 days, minimum, for the payment of all loans falling due within the enhanced community quarantine without interests, penalties, fees or other charges;
  • providing for a minimum of 30 days grace period on residential rents falling due within the period of the enhanced community quarantine without interest, penalties, fees and other charges;
  • implementing an expanded and enhanced Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program and providing an assistance program through the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Labor and Employment; and
  • lifting the 30% cap on the amount for the quick respond fund as provided for in Republic Act No. 10121 or the "Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010" during the state of national emergency due to COVID-19.

The President of the Philippines shall submit a weekly report to Congress, every Monday, of all acts done for this law including the amount and corresponding utilization of funds. The Congress shall form a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee consisting of four members each from the Senate and the House of Representatives who are appointed by the Senate President and the House Speaker.[2]

Under this law, a penalty of two months imprisonment or a fine of not less than ten thousand pesos (₱10,000.00) but not more than one million pesos (₱1,000,000.00) or both shall be meted to offenses such as:[2]

  • disobeying national government policies or directives in imposing quarantines by officials of local government units;
  • refusing unjustifiably to operate the privately owned hospitals, medical and health facilities pursuant to the directive of the President by owners and possessors of these hospitals, medical and health facilities;
  • engaging in profiteering, hoarding, injurious speculations, manipulation of prices, product deceptions, cartels, monopolies or other combinations to restraint trade, 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 for agriculture, industry and other essential services and other articles of prime necessity, whether locally manufactured or imported;
  • refusal to prioritize and accept contracts for services and materials necessary to promote national policy provided in this law;
  • refusal to give 30-day grace period as provided by this law;
  • creating, perpetrating or spreading false information about COVID-19 crisis on social media and other platforms, with no valid or beneficial effect on the population which promote chaos, panic, anarchy, fear or confusion;
  • participating in cyber incidents that take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis such as scams, phishing, fraudulent emails or other similar acts;
  • failure to comply with reasonable limitations on the operation of certain transportation sectors, be it private or public, whether by land, air or sea; and
  • putting-up of prohibited encroachments or obstacles, maintenance of illegal constructions in public places that have been ordered to be removed and impeding access to roads, streets and bridges.

Implementation[edit]

NBI summons Mayor Sotto[edit]

After the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon and before the enactment of the Bayanihan law, Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto allowed temporarily the limited operation of the city's tricycles for use of health care workers, government personnel and patients despite the national government's ban on the operation of public transportation. Sotto mentioned that banning all tricycles in the city would bring more risk to the city's health situation.[23] After he aired the views and experiences of the local government of Pasig, Sotto complied with the inclusion of tricycles in the public transportation ban.[24]

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), through its Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin, confirmed on April 1, 2020, that NBI sent an invitation letter to Sotto for violation of Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. Lavin said that Sotto is scheduled to appear at the bureau on April 7, 2020, at 10 am. Sotto responded by saying that he had already complied with the national government's order to stop tricycle operations prior to the implementation of the law.[25][26] Senate President Tito Sotto, an uncle of the mayor, criticized the move in a tweet, stating "NBI will be well advised to be cautious in their interpretation of the law I principally authored. Any so-called violation of RA 11469 can't be retroactive!".[27] Liberal Party president and Senator Francis Pangilinan also questioned the NBI's actions, stating the unconstitutionality of criminalizing an act committed before the law was passed.

Social media responded heavily with criticism towards the NBI for allegedly singling out the mayor, even comparing the situation to that of Senator Koko Pimentel's case, who had violated quarantine protocols a few days prior at the Makati Medical Center, but was given consideration by the government.[28]

NBI investigates Senator Pimentel III[edit]

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) spokesperson Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin said that the bureau was also investigating Senator Aquilino Pimentel III for alleged violation of the Bayanihan Heal as One Act. Director Eric Distor of the NBI confirmed that Pimentel would also be invited to the bureau to explain. He would be summoned when his self-quarantine ended.[29][30][31]

Pimentel had undergone testing for COVID-19 and was informed that he was positive for the disease while he was at the Makati Medical Center, accompanying his pregnant wife who was scheduled to give birth.[29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Patag, Kristine Joy (March 25, 2020). "During state of emergency, 'Bayanihan' Act allows imprisonment for 'false information'". The Philippine Star. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Republic Act No. 11469 – An Act Declaring the Existence of a National Emergency Arising from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) Situation and a National Policy in Connection Therewith, and Authorizing the President of the Republic of the Philippines for a Limited Period and Subject to Resctrictions, to Exercise Powers Necessary and Proper to Carry Out the Declared National Policy and for Other Purposes" (PDF). Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  3. ^ Parrocha, Azer (March 22, 2020). "Duterte seeks 'more powers,' urgent measures vs. Covid-19". Philippine News Agency. Philippine News Agency. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  4. ^ Luci-Atienza, Charissa (March 24, 2020). "House approves 'Bayanihan' bill on 3rd reading in historic virtual special session; grants PRRD 'necessary' powers to handle COVID-19 crisis". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  5. ^ Romero, Paolo; Porcalla, Delon (March 23, 2020). "Congress grants Duterte covid standby powers". The Philippine Star. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  6. ^ Luci-Atienza, Charissa (March 24, 2020). "9 solons voted against Bayanihan Act; say special powers prone to abuse, misuse". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  7. ^ Ager, Maila (March 24, 2020). "Poor families to get up to P8,000 cash subsidy from COVID-19 bill". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  8. ^ "Senators seek ₱1-M death benefit; ₱100K aid for COVID-infected health workers". CNN Philippines. March 24, 2020. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  9. ^ Navallo, Mike (March 24, 2020). "COVID-19 CRISIS: How President Duterte's emergency powers bill morphed in 36 hours". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  10. ^ Mercado, Neil Arwin (March 24, 2020). "House OKs bill granting Duterte 'necessary' powers due to COVID-19 crisis". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  11. ^ Ramos, Christia Marie; Lalu, Gabriel Palico (March 24, 2020). "Senate OKs bill granting Duterte special powers to fight COVID-19". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  12. ^ Valente, Catherine (March 25, 2020). "Duterte signs measure on special powers into law". The Manila Times. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  13. ^ Mercado, Neil Arwin (March 23, 2020). "House special session photo op: 'We went to work for you, so please stay home for us'". Inquirer News. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  14. ^ Cepeda, Mara (March 23, 2020). "Pinoys online livid over 'Stay at home for us' gimmick in House". Rappler. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  15. ^ Merez, Arianne (March 23, 2020). "'We went to work for you': Gov't officials call to Filipinos to stay at home earns backlash". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  16. ^ Aguilera, John Paulo (March 24, 2020). "These 'stay home for us' memes should serve as lesson for House not to use Manila paper". SPIN.ph. Sports Interactive Network Philippines. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  17. ^ Cepeda, Mara (March 24, 2020). "Cayetano lashes out: 'If holding up sign gets people to stay home, I will do it again'". Rappler. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  18. ^ "'I will do it again': Cayetano defends 'stay at home' sign amid online backlash". CNN Philippines. March 24, 2020. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  19. ^ a b "Roque says expiration of Bayanihan Act will not affect the disbursement of SAP". CNN Philippines. June 25, 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  20. ^ Punzalan, Jamaine (June 24, 2020). "Philippines 'in good shape' ahead of Bayanihan Act expiration, says Duterte spokesman". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  21. ^ "Duterte may still need Bayanihan 2 – Palace". The Philippine Star. June 26, 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  22. ^ "BAYANIHAN TO RECOVER AS ONE ACT". Senate.gov.ph. June 1, 2020. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  23. ^ Nievera, Allysa (March 18, 2020). "Mayor Sotto says total ban on tricycles in Pasig adds risk to health situation". Manila Bulletin.
  24. ^ "Vico Sotto: Pasig to follow nat'l gov't on tricycles ban". GMA News. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  25. ^ "NBI asks Vico Sotto to explain 'violation' of quarantine policy". CNN Philippines. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  26. ^ "NBI summons Vico Sotto for 'violating' Bayanihan Law". Rappler. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  27. ^ Rey, Aika. "Tito Sotto 'defends' Vico: 'Violation of Bayanihan law can't be retroactive'". Rappler. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  28. ^ Isinika, Alois. "#ProtectVico trends worldwide after NBI summons Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto". Rappler. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  29. ^ a b "NBI: Koko Pimentel also under probe for violation of COVID-19 rules". GMA News. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  30. ^ "NBI to summon gov't execs over breach of quarantine rules". Philippine News Agency. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  31. ^ "NBI probes Koko Pimentel over possible quarantine breach". cnn. Retrieved April 1, 2020.