MANILA (UPDATE) — The Department of Health has asked President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to extend beyond year-end the state of calamity for COVID-19 in the country, which is set to expire on December 31.
In a press briefing Tuesday, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire disclosed the agency had already submitted a memorandum to the President requesting an extension of the state of calamity.
"We are just waiting for the official response of the Office of the President in terms of this memo that we have submitted to them," she said.
Vergeire said the request came after a bill creating the Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control, which would continue the country's programs for COVID-19 response, was not enacted on time.
The bill was approved on final reading in the House of Representatives.
Should the state of calamity be lifted by year-end, Vergeire said "we will be losing the different response strategies that we are doing right now".
Among them are the inoculation of COVID-19 vaccines, validity of emergency use authorization of COVID-19 drugs and emergency hiring and allowance of healthcare workers.
"All of these, aside from other conditions, will be affected once we can’t extend the state of calamity," Vergeire stressed.
In March 2020, former President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation No. 922, which declared a state of public health emergency in the country due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In September, a month after he took office, Marcos Jr. extended the state of calamity throughout the country until the end of the year.
Since the pandemic, the Philippines has logged over 4 million coronavirus infections, of which more than 65,000 people succumbed to the disease.
Meanwhile, over 73.7 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, of which 21.1 million have received their additional jab.
Courtesy of DOH