Congress may not be able to hold a special session to pass the bill extending the validity of the Bayanihan 2 law, which expires on June 30, House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said Monday.
If the validity of the law is not extended, funds that it earmarks for the country’s COVID-19 response and economic recovery will no longer be available after June 30.
“Bayanihan 2… was on agenda during the visit to Malacanang. We were not able to take that up, there has been no clarity moving forward.
It’s looking quite tight. The likelihood of extension is becoming dimmer at this point,” Romualdez, chairman of the House committee on rules, said in an interview Monday.
"The deadline is already on June 30. We lack time to hold a special session," Romualdez said, adding that the call for Congress to hold a special session should come from Malacañang.
"There should be certification of its urgency, so we have not had that yet… we still even have to get the concurrence of our counterparts in the Senate,” he added.
The House has passed a bill extending the validity of Bayanihan 2 until Dec. 31.
Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez urged President Duterte to call Congress to a special session to extend the Bayanihan 2 or We Recover as One Law.
“We have to extend the effectivity of the law again so that the government can spend whatever remains of the millions of funds we have appropriated for pandemic response,” he said.
“Unless we pass another extension bill, the unspent funds would no longer be available (after June 30),” Rodriguez said.
Quoting media reports, he added that more than P18 billion of the P165 billion appropriated by Congress under Bayanihan 2 still had to be disbursed as of last week.
In a press briefing on June 21, presidential spokesman Harry Roque confirmed that P18.4 billion or 13 percent of the appropriated funds had not yet been obligated.
Over the weekend, the Department of Budget and Management announced that it has released P9 billion for the special risk allowance of health workers.