Following the declaration of State of Calamity throughout the Philippines, imposing of Enhanced Community Quarantine throughout Luzon and raising the COVID-19 to Code Red Sublevel 2, the RA11469 was enacted, declaring a state of national emergency over the entire country and granting the President with powers to immediately be able to implement measures to effectively address COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected nations worldwide, including the Philippines, and has caused and is continuing to cause loss of lives and disruption to the economy,” as stated in the law.
The law implements measures to prevent further transmission of COVID-19 through streamlining the accreditation of testing kits and facilitate prompt testing of PUIs and PUMs, and compulsory and immediate isolation and treatment of patients. She urges the Department of Health to prioritize the health of the public by conducting more mass testing for COVID-19 in NCR and all regions and provinces to contain the spread of the COVID-19.
The law also authorizes the immediate mobilize assistance in the provision of basic necessities to families affected by the imposition of community quarantine, by providing P5,000 to 8,000 worth of subsidies for 18M low income households.
The essential goods (food and medicine) must be ensured and will always be available, the donation, acceptance and distribution of health supplies must not delay, the supply of power, fuel, energy, and water is regulated, and the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and provision of Commodity Assistance Program must be expanded and enhanced.
Furthermore, the Bayanihan Act provides measures that will prevent overburdening of the healthcare system, by providing COVID-19 special risk allowance to public health workers. The medical expenses of public and private health workers will be shouldered through Philhealth, in case of exposure to COVID-19. A compensation of P100,000 will be provided to public and private health workers who have been infected on-duty, and 1 million for those who die on-duty. The hospitals and medical facilities shall serve as house to health workers, quarantine areas centers, medical relief and aid distribution locations.
Moreover, the law requires undertaking programs for recovery and rehabilitation, such as moving the deadlines for filing and submission of any document, payment of taxes, fees, and implementing a minimum of 30-day grace period for the payment of loans and residential rents.
Under the law, the LGUs can use more than 5% of the amount allocated for their calamity fund and lift 30% cap on the Quick Response Fund. The appropriations in the FY 2020 GAA will be realigned, and the appropriated programs, projects or activities of any agency shall discontinue to prioritize augmentation of budget items for the priority agencies. This is to ensure sufficient, adequate and readily available funding.
The government shall establish partnership with the private sector and other stakeholders, like Philippine Red Cross as the primary humanitarian agency. The businesses will be required to prioritize and accept contracts for necessary materials and services.
Lastly, to promote and protect the collective interests of all Filipinos, alternative working arrangements for employees in the Executive, in other government branches, and the private sector shall be authorized. The law will also provide protection from hoarding and profiteering.
Everyone are requested to stay at home and strictly follow the government protocol and safety measures during this Enhanced Community Quarantine period, to minimize the transmission of the virus.