Labella, hospital owner back grant of extra powers

A PUBLIC official and the owner of a Cebu private hospital have expressed their support for the grant of extra powers to President Rodrigo Duterte to address the worsening crisis brought about by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella said he agreed with granting the special powers to Duterte.

“That is a must, and it should be done as soon as possible,” he said about the exercise of such emergency powers.

Labella said it was right for Congress to immediately pass Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act without much delay, especially with the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the country.

For his part, Dr. Potenciano Larrazabal III, president and chairman of CebuDoc Group of Hospitals, said the health sector will make sure that they are one with the government in ensuring that their doctors, nurses and healthcare workers are safe.

In a text message to SunStar Cebu on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Larrazabal said they will also be proactive in providing Duterte and his representatives with the crucial and necessary data and information for the President to make informed decisions “for the best interest of the people, especially the Cebuanos.”

“We believe that the President only thinks of what’s best for our country. Thus, we will make sure to be actively involved in this whole process, especially that we are more familiar with the local situation,” he added.

Duterte signed late Tuesday night the new law that grants him special powers to respond to the public health emergency.

Under the new law, the President has the authority to ensure that medical equipment and supplies are procured, there is no hoarding or profiteering and that local government units are acting in line with the rules and regulations issued by the National Government.

Under the measure, Duterte may also direct the operation of privately owned hospitals, medical facilities, passenger vessels and other establishments to house health workers, serve as quarantine areas, become quarantine centers, aid and medical centers or as temporary health facilities, and serve as transportation for health workers.

The law also allocates funds to provide 18 million low-income families across the country with subsidies of from P5,000 to P8,000 to help them cope with the community quarantine.

The special powers will be in effect for two to three months but may be extended as needed. (WBS, JJL)


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