Senate to Suspend Sessions During Metro Manila ECQ

Lawmaking takes a break.
Photo/s: Senate PRIB/Handout

(UPDATE) The Senate will suspend sessions during the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila to curb the spread of the more contagious Delta coronavirus variant.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III told reporters that he would suspend the Senate sessions beginning Wednesday until Aug. 23 "without prejudice to [him] calling a possible session before the 23rd if it becomes necessary."

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri initially said the chamber's session will be suspended from Aug. 9 to 11, adding that he would check if committee hearings could still push through virtually.

"Ang mahirap kasi sa hearings, we still need stenographers and of course they can't come to the Senate. So paano na yan? Wala naman silang equipment sa bahay. So baka yan wala din," he said.

Sotto said the conduct of hearings will depend on the committee chairpersons "as long as virtual only so that the employees will not be exposed."

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The capital region will be placed under ECQ, the strictest form of community quarantine, from Aug. 6 to 20 due to the threat of the Delta variant.

Sotto earlier said that should they suspend sessions during the ECQ, senators would have to work overtime this week to tackle as many measures as possible.

These include economic measures that President Rodrigo Duterte urged Congress to work on during his last State of the Nation Address.

Ahead of the ECQ, stricter border protocols were placed along the boundaries of Metro Manila and surrounding provinces Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal to ensure that only authorized persons outside of residence will be able to travel in and out of the bubble.

Public transportation will maintain operations in Metro Manila during the ECQ period, but dine-in and al fresco dining services, as well as indoor sports courts and indoor tourist attractions will be prohibited from operating.

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