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Philippines: Special law in focus as coronavirus cases soar

Christian Fernsby |
The Philippines government is seeking an extension in special powers to fight the coronavirus as the country’s case count passed 17,000 on Saturday.

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According to news website Rappler, President Rodrigo Duterte wants the special powers granted to him, which end in June, to be extended until September.

“We prefer a 90-day extension of the current powers granted to the president,” spokesperson Harry Roque said.

The law allows Duterte to cancel scheduled events and activities and divert their funds towards coronavirus containment measures.

He can also take over private medical facilities and public transportation, use government funds to help low-income families, and give special risk allowances to health workers along with hazard pay, the report said.

The development comes as 590 more COVID-19 cases pushed the Philippines’ total to 17,224.

The Department of Health said 252 of these cases were “fresh”, while the remaining 338 were “positive results returned late.”

Eight more COVID-19 patients died over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 950.

Recoveries reached 3,808 after 88 more people were discharged from hospitals across the country, the Health Department said.

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