Congress plays vital role in coronavirus crisis management and response -Duterte

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DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said the House of Representatives plays a vital role in the country’s crisis management and response to coronavirus pandemic which remains a threat worldwide.

Duterte who participated in the 36th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of the ASEAN Inter- Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) highlighted on Friday the critical support of the legislative department in the crisis intervention and response pending a medical solution to the virus.

In a statement released by the Palace, it said that President Duterte, along with his ASEAN counterparts, “had a productive exchange of views and interface” with the representatives of AIPA during the summit conducted via videoconference.

The ASEAN heads of state underscored the key role of ASEAN legislatures in COVID-19 crisis management and response.

Duterte stressed that a pandemic of such massive scale and severity as COVID-19 requires close cooperation and coordination between the executive and the legislature.

He lauded the Philippine Congress for enacting the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”, which enabled the government to implement timely emergency measures to mitigate the adverse impact of the crisis and save lives.

“COVID-19 is likely to stay with us in the foreseeable future. As we transition to the new normal and move towards recovery, we will once again need the support of the legislative branch,” the President said.

Duterte cited key areas that need urgent legislative action, such as the institutionalization of national preparedness and response mechanisms for pandemics and other hazards. These include the creation of a Medical Reserve Corps and Stockpile of Strategic and Critical Materials. 

The country, according to Duterte needs to amend its Labor Code, strengthen its social protection system, and update its economic regulations in view of advances in the digital economy.

He sought the support of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly in crafting an ASEAN comprehensive recovery plan.

“Over the past five decades, ASEAN has seen great progress and overcome many crises through solid cooperation. Our legislatures have definitely been a crucial partner in this process. Let us then continue to foster this much-needed cohesive and responsive partnership,” he said.

Founded in 1977, AIPA is a forum for inter-parliamentary friendship and cooperation among lawmakers from the 10 ASEAN Member States.-Newsline

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