Press Release
September 22, 2020

Dispatch from Crame No. 916:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Statement on the Extension of the State of Calamity

In the absence of a comprehensive plan six months since the lockdown, Duterte chose to extend the state of calamity to one year. He seemed to have developed a habit of pushing for extensions whenever he hits a dead end - martial law extension sa Mindanao, extension ng lockdown, puro extension na walang konkretong plano at epektibong aksyon. Parang estudyante na nanghihingi ng palugit sa deadline ng project na hindi naisubmit matapos magpapetiks-petiks.

Sa panukalang Pambansang Budget pa lang, hindi na mahirap isipin kung anong kahihinatnan natin pagkatapos ng isang taon. The proposed 2021 National Budget clearly reflects this regime's priorities amid a pandemic. Instead of a "COVID-19 budget," we have a staggering P4.5 billion confidential and intelligence fund for the Office of the President. Sa gitna ng pandemya, pinakamalaki pa rin ang inilaan sa paniniktik.

Worse, the proposed 2021 budget is giving Duterte the expanded power to declare unobligated allotment as savings, in case of a declaration of a State of Calamity, which definitely smells of pork. Power to realign the budget without the need for emergency powers? Eh 'di parang naging personal slush fund na ni Duterte ang national budget. Anong kabalbalan ito?

Every undue power and prerogative granted to Duterte, with or without the pandemic, is always a Pandora's box to more corruption, abuses and excesses.

Clearly, the state of calamity extension will just be an extension of that "tulog-sa-pansitan" response when it comes to this public health and economic crisis. So, sige lang Mr. President, gawin mo ang kapritso mo, pero ang pasensiya namin, hindi na kayang i-extend hanggang sa 2022.

Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 916, here:

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