December 5, 2023

The Department of Health is seeking to extend the period of state of calamity in the Philippines amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
DOH officer-in-charge Usec. Ma. Rosario Vergeire said the agency has already submitted a request for President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to extend the declaration which lapsed on Dec. 31, 2022.
The DOH made the move after the bill creating the Philippine Centers for Disease Prevention and Control “was not enacted on time”.
Lifting the declaration at this point, Vergeire said, would cost the “different response strategies that we are doing right now”.
“First, our Covid-19 vaccination program is anchored on the state of calamity provision of the law kaya kapag nawala ‘yon baka mahirapan tayong magpatupad ng pagbabakuna natin,” she said, noting Covid-19 vaccines are administered under emergency use authorization.
It would also affect the emergency hiring and allowance of medical front-liners.
“All of these aside from the other conditions will be affected once we cannot extend the state of calamity,” Vergeire said.
The state of calamity due to Covid-19 was first declared in March 2020 and had been extended to allow the national and local governments to continuously deliver pandemic-related interventions.
Under a state of calamity, the country could use appropriate funds, including the Quick Response Fund to contain the spread of the virus as well as monitor and control prices of basic necessities and prime commodities. – PNA