DOH to ask for COVID-19 state of calamity extension if CDC law fails to pass this year

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
DOH to ask for COVID-19 state of calamity extension if CDC law fails to pass this year
Shoppers fill the streets of Divisoria, Manila on December 8, 2022.
The STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health said Friday it will ask President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to extend the state of calamity due to the COVID-19 if Congress fails to pass by year-end a law that will ensure that the government’s pandemic response will continue.

The state of calamity due to COVID-19 is set to expire at the end of the year, which the DOH said would end vaccination efforts and price regulations on pandemic response items unless Congress passes the law creating Philippine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We hope that the CDC law is passed and enacted. Because the CDC law states the conditions needed for our COVID-19 response to continue,” DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire told a news briefing.

“If this is not passed before the year ends, we need to speak with the Office of the President for an extension, even just for a month, until we pass the CDC law,” Vergeire continued.

The likelihood of the CDC law passing by year-end is slim. While the House of Representatives is poised to approve it on third reading next week before Congress goes on a break for Christmas, the measure is still at the committee level in the Senate.

Duterte first declared a state of calamity due to COVID-19 on March 16, 2020, which was extended six months after its effectivity and extended anew for a year after that.

The DOH has previously warned that lifting the state of calamity would affect the emergency use authorizations granted to vaccines and medicines for COVID-19 and also the benefits enjoyed by healthcare workers.



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