Duterte to extend state of calamity in PH due to COVID-19 crisis

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 17 2020 02:26 PM | Updated as of Sep 17 2020 02:45 PM

Jeepney drivers beg for money along a road in Caloocan City on Aug. 8, 2020 as public transport continued to be banned amid the COVID-19 quarantine. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA— President Rodrigo Duterte will "definitely" extend the declaration of a state of calamity in the Philippines, Malacañang said Thursday, as the country continued to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duterte initially declared a 6-month state of calamity last March 16 just as he placed the Philippines' most populous island Luzon under lockdown to control the spread of the virus.

While the Palace has yet to release a documents on the extension, Duterte's spokesperson Harry Roque already gave his word on the matter.

"Yes, definitely [it will be extended]. It's in (sic) the desk of the President, probably signed by now," Roque said during a Palace press briefing.

The declaration of a state of calamity in March enabled government to respond better to the pandemic ahead of the enactment of virus response policies namely the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, and the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

The Philippines has implemented one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world as the entire country remained under varying levels of community quarantine.

As of Wednesday, the country has confirmed 272,934 COVID-19 cases, of which 60,344 are active. The total number of recoveries is at 207,858, while the total number of fatalities is 4,732.