By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has declared a state of calamity in the country for the next six months amid the sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the country.
Under the calamity declaration, the President mobilized government agencies and local government units to use resources to address the coronavirus threat while the police and military have been directed to keep peace and order in affected areas.
The calamity declaration was recommended to the President by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). It was issued through Proclamation No. 929 signed by the President last March 16 but released by the Palace on Tuesday.
“There is hereby declared a state of calamity throughout the Philippines for a period of six (6) months unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant,” the proclamation read.
“Such declaration will, among others, afford the national government as well as LGUs (local government units), ample latitude to utilize appropriate funds, including the Quick Response Fund, in their disaster preparedness and response efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 and to continue to provide basic services to the affected population.”
The same proclamation also formally imposed the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon beginning 12 midnight of March 17 until April 12 “unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant.”
The Luzon-wide quarantine calls for strict home quarantine, suspension of public transpiration, travel restrictions, and work-from-home arrangements to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The new proclamation noted that the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus continues to rise despite government interventions.
It also cited that under the Constitution, it is the state’s policy to protect and promote the right to health of the people.
“All government agencies and LGUs are enjoined to render full assistance to and cooperation with each other and mobilize the necessary resources to undertake critical, urgent, and appropriate disaster response aid and measures in a timely manner to curtail and eliminate the threat of COVID-19,” the proclamation read.
“All government agencies, with the support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, are hereby directed to undertake all necessary measures to ensure peace and order in affected areas, as may be necessary.”
The President earlier declared a state of public health emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country. The health emergency declaration was contained in Proclamation No. 922.
As of Tuesday, the country has a total of 187 coronavirus cases after 45 more patients tested positive for the virus.