Duterte places PH under state of calamity until Sept. 2021: battle vs. COVID-19 pandemic continues

The Philippines will remain under a state of calamity until September 2021 based on a latest order of President Duterte as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic. 

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on September 14, 2020. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The President issued Proclamation No. 1021 extending the calamity declaration for one year and enjoining government agencies and local government units to sustain measures to address the coronavirus threat. The police and military have also been directed to keep peace and order in affected areas.

Under the proclamation, the state of calamity will take effect from September 13, 2020 to September 12, 2021 "unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant."

The President initially declared a six-month state of calamity in the country in March to mobilize government resources to protect public health from the pandemic. The declaration, contained in Proclamation No. 929 signed by Duterte on March 16, expired this month.

"This extension will, among others, effectively afford the National Government as well as local government units (LGUs), ample latitude to continue utilizing appropriate funds, including the Quick Response Fund, in their disaster preparedness and response efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, monitor and control prices of basic necessities and prime commodities, and provide basic services to the affected populations," the new proclamation read.

The calamity extension was made upon the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

In the proclamation, the President recognized that the government and the public have attained "significant strides" in enhancing and improving the country's capability to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Despite such efforts and interventions, he noted that the country's cases of infections and deaths continued to rise.

In the proclamation, all government agencies and local government units are enjoined "to continue rendering 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 curtal and eliminate the threat of COVID-19."

"All law enforcement agencies, with the support from the Armed Forces of the Philippines are hereby directed to continue undertaking all necessary measures to ensure peace and order in affected areas, as may be necessary,” the order added.

The new proclamation was signed by the President on September 16.

More than 279,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the country. The death toll has reached 4,830 while the recoveries jumped to 208,790.

The government has slowly eased the strict coronavirus lockdown in a bid to revitalize the country’s sluggish economy. Testing, tracing and treatment efforts have been intensified to slow down the spread of the illness.