Duterte places Philippines under state of calamity until September 2021

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 18 2020 05:21 PM | Updated as of Sep 18 2020 06:26 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 (UPDATE)— The Philippines will remain under a state of calamity for one more year as it continues to grapple with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Rodrigo Duterte extended the period of the state of calamity until Sept. 12, 2021 through Proclamation No. 1021.

"This extension will, among others, effectively afford the National Government, as well as local government units ample latitude to continue utilizing appropriate funds, including the Quick Response Fund, in their disaster preparedness and response efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, monitor and control prices of basic necessities and prime commodities, and provide basic services to the affected populations," Duterte said in the proclamation signed on Sept. 16.

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 coronavirus.

The declaration of a state of calamity in March provided the government with leeway 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.

Despite having one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world, the Philippines continues to report hundreds of new COVID-19 infections each day--logging 3, 257 new cases on Friday.

At present, COVID-19 cases in the Philippines has reached 279,526 based on data from the Department of Health.

The virus, which has claimed 4,830 lives in the Philippines has also forced job cuts and dragged the country to recession--a first in nearly 30 years.