The president of the Philippines is seeking powers to temporarily take over the operation of private businesses in a bid to fight the coronavirus pandemic, local media reported.

Rodrigo Duterte has requested that the country’s lawmakers grant him the power in the “public interest,” news website reported.

Duterte’s move comes as a bill is being debated in the country’s parliament that, if passed, would enable Duterte to declare a national emergency against the disease, known as COVID-19.

The country’s Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea told lawmakers that the proposal to take over private businesses was “only meant to be

Read more: COVID-19: Philippines President seeks emergency powers