The measures that placed the country in a state of calamity due to COVID-19 expired on December 31, and it seems that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is unlikely to extend the same despite calls from health experts to do so.
“I’m still very, very hesitant to continue the state of calamity, to extend it because again we are not in a state of calamity anymore, technically speaking,” Marcos Jr. said on December 29.
“And that is the wrong mindset to be approaching the new year with. So we’re still trying to find ways to continue to provide the benefits to our medical health workers which is the main issue without the state of calamity,” he added.
This remark came after the Department of Health (DOH) asked him to keep the country under a state of emergency until the end of 2023 since the Center for Disease Control bill was not passed on time.
Should it be enacted, the Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control will be established as the country’s primary health protection agency.
According to DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire, not extending the measures will have an impact on other COVID-19 response strategies as they are based in the state of calamity provision of the law.
As of this writing, Marcos Jr. still had not formally responded to the DOH’s request for an extension.