With COVID-19 cases rising, Philippines now under state of calamity

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
With COVID-19 cases rising, Philippines now under state of calamity
A group of vegetables and fruit vendor sleeps along the sidewalk at Taft Avenue in Manila on Tuesday midnight as they wait for a bus despite the suspension of all public transport in line with the strict implementation of the enhanced community quarantine.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines (2nd update, 6:58 p.m.) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday evening declared a nationwide state of calamity in the Philippines as a result of the worsening spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Invoking Republic Act 10121, the newly issued Proclamation 929 declares a state of calamity for a period of six months unless lifted earlier extended "as circumstances may warrant." 

The proclamation enjoins all government agencies to render full assistance in combating the spread of the new pathogen. 

The declaration also directs law enforcement agencies including the Armed Forces of the Philippines "to undertake all necessary measures to ensure peace and order."

Section 16 of RA 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 reads: 

Section 16. Declaration of State of Calamity. - The National Council shall recommend to the President of the Philippines the declaration of a cluster of barangays, municipalities, cities, provinces, and regions under a state of calamity, and the lifting thereof, based on the criteria set by the National Council. The President's declaration may warrant international humanitarian assistance as deemed necessary.

The declaration and lifting of the state of calamity may also be issued by the local sanggunian, upon the recommendation of the LDRRMC, based on the results of the damage assessment and needs analysis.

Mark Timbal, spokesperson of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, confirmed to Philstar.com that meetings on recommending the state of calamity began on Monday.

"This was formally recommended today," he said.

The proclamation admitted that "the number of confirmed cases continues to rise despite government intervention."  

The Department of Health confirmed earlier on Tuesday that there is already a community transmission of the virus. This is declared when a person is diagnosed with the disease despite not having been to a high-risk area and not having been in contact with any other confirmed cases.

There are 187 recorded cases of the virus in the Philippines with four recoveries as of press time.

Last Thursday, the chief executive also hoisted Code Red Sub Level 2 which placed Metro Manila under community quarantine, restricting travel and movement.

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