Press Release
March 31, 2020

Statement of Sen. Francis Pangilinan on the President's report on COVID emergency powers
Pangilinan to IATF: Act with more urgency, system to ease Filipinos' hunger, insecurity

We thank the people in government who are actualizing the Bayanihan Law, continuing to report for work in the face of COVID-19 epidemic. Especially for the front-liners who have to leave their house, please practice all the health protocols: social distancing, hygiene for self and disinfection for personal items, healthful food and rest, and drink lots of water.

The Bayanihan Law was passed with much urgency and focus on three items: health, food, and a strategy that will shorten this enhanced community quarantine so that we can restore and revive our livelihoods.

We laud the out-of-the box features in the report like (1) DOTr's floating quarantine hospitals; (2) DOST's P53.2-million funding of testing kits, study on the use of lauric acid in coconut oil to fight COVID, production of 500,000 reusable facial masks, and research on COVID-spread monitoring and modeling systems; and (3) NEDA's setting up of a networks hub for private-public sharing.

We also commend DOF and DA for the report of their inventory of available funds and food. The DOF, with BTr, identified P100 billion as eligible for 'cash sweep' and added P300 billion to cash reserves. The DA reported that the country's supply of rice, fish, pork, chicken, and vegetables is sufficient, with the national rice inventory for this quarter enough for next 75 days. We hope that the system is in place para masigurong makarating ang mga pagkaing ito sa hapag-kainan ng bawat pamilyang Pilipino.

We urge the other government agencies to fast-track their inventories of resources for the whole-of-Philippines anti-COVID efforts: vehicles to ferry food and front-liners, buildings for possible health isolation and treatment centers, etc. We specifically demand that DSWD step up to perform its mandates under the law: food packs and emergency cash aid.

Higit sa lahat, hinihimok natin ang IATF na magkaroon ng over-all plan o estratehiya para masugpo o malagpasan ang COVID epidemic. Kailangan ng taumbayan ng malinaw na estratehiya na sasagot sa pangkalahatang kalusugan nating mga Pilipino.

Abril na bukas, at pangatlong linggo na ng enhanced community quarantine. Hiling namin sa pamahalaan dalawang buwan pagkaraan ng unang COVID positive, maglabas ng komprehensibong plano na sasagot sa gutom at pag-aalala ng maraming Pilipino.

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