Sec. Cimatu is free to exercise all powers to fight COVID-19 in Cebu City, Palace affirms

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Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu is free to exercise “all powers” to slow down the spread of the virus as cases in Cebu City, as the President personally assigned him to oversee the situation in the city.

“The mandate really is to do everything that can be done to avoid a spike in cases in Cebu City and to manage the number of new cases being reported from the City,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Cimatu would have to notify the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) about the specific actions to be taken.

“He will go there, he will find out what the situation on the ground is, he will make not just recommendations but will implement what he thinks should be done in a period of one week, and all he has to do is keep the IATF posted on the steps being taken,” he added.

Roque said the President could also issue an executive order to allow Cimatu to freely exercise those powers.

“All the actions of Gen. Cimatu are tantamount to acts of the President. And if need be, the President will issue executive orders to give legal validity to the actions being taken by Gen. Cimatu,” he said.

Cimatu can exercise these powers because Roque said “he has been the beneficiary of delegated authority from the President.”

“We all know that although we have equality of power between equal branches of government, the President, because of procedural powers, is, in reality, and in theory, the most powerful. So he (Cimatu) gets to exercise all the extraordinary powers of the Office of the President in dealing with the pandemic in Cebu City,” he added.

As of Tuesday, Cebu City has a total of 4,479 Covid-19 infections with 2,213 active cases, 2,177 recoveries, and 89 deaths.

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