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Palace confident on pandemic recovery plan continuity

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Palace confident on pandemic recovery plan continuity
Acting presidential spokesman Martin Andanar clarified that the order, containing a 10-point policy agenda to accelerate and sustain economic recovery from the pandemic, is not a COVID-19 exit plan.
Boy Santos, File

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday expressed confidence the next administrations will follow the pandemic recovery plan contained in Executive Order No. 166 signed by President Duterte this week.

Acting presidential spokesman Martin Andanar clarified that the order, containing a 10-point policy agenda to accelerate and sustain economic recovery from the pandemic, is not a COVID-19 exit plan.

“We do not share the view that this is the current administration’s exit plan for this forms part of the country’s preparation to build resilience under the new normal, which we are certain would be carried on by the succeeding administrations,” Andanar said in a statement.

Andanar noted that EO 168, which formed the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, was signed by the late president Benigno Aquino III in 2014 and was adopted by the Duterte administration. The IATF is the government’s pandemic policy-making body.

“Unless Executive Order No.166 is modified or revoked, it would remain effective and operational,” Andanar said.

The order, signed by Duterte last March 21, enumerated 10 principles of the pandemic economic recovery plan – strengthen health care capacity, accelerate and expand the vaccination program, further reopen the economy and expand public transport capacity, resume face-to-face learning, reduce restrictions on domestic travel and standardize local government units’ requirements, relax requirements for international travel, accelerate digital transformation through legislative measures, provide for enhanced and flexible emergency measures through legislation, shift the focus of decision-making and government reporting to more useful and empowering metrics, and medium term protection for pandemic resilience.

The policies were intended to sustain economic gains and minimize the long-term adverse effects of the pandemic, which has so far left more than 58,000 persons dead in the Philippines.

All regions in the Philippines are now at minimal risk as COVID-19 case rates drop but health officials are urging the public and businesses to continue complying with health protocols like frequent hand washing, wearing of face masks, observing physical distance, and proper ventilation.

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