Duterte declares state of calamity for 6 months

March 18, 2020
Rodrigo Duterte

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed a proclamation placing the entire Philippines under a state of calamity for six months due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In his Proclamation 929, Duterte stressed that the declaration of a state of calamity nationwide is necessary amid the rise in confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country.

“Despite government interventions, the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 continues to rise,” the proclamation, inked on March 16, read.

“Such declaration will, among others, afford the National Government, as well as LGUs (local government units) to utilize appropriate funds, including the Quick Response Fund, in their disaster preparedness and response efforts to contain the spread of Covid-10 and to continue to provide basic services to the affected population,” it added.

The Philippines is placed under a state of calamity for six months, “unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant,” according to the proclamation.

Under the presidential proclamation, all government agencies and LGUs are enjoined to assist and cooperate.

They are also mandated to 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 also directs all law enforcement agencies, with the support from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to undertake all necessary measures to ensure peace and order in affected areas, "as may be necessary.

On March 9, Duterte signed Proclamation 922, placing the entire country under a state of public health emergency due to the COVI-19 outbreak.

The Code alert system for COVID-19 was also raised to Code Red Sublevel 2, prompting Duterte to implement an “enhanced” community quarantine in the whole of Luzon.

Proclamation 929 orders the Executive Secretary, the Secretary of Health, and all other concerned heads of departments to issue guidelines on the imposition of “enhanced” community quarantine in Luzon.

Implementing an “enhanced” community quarantine means all households must observe “strict” home quarantine and their movement should be limited to accessing basic necessities, based on the guidelines contained in a Palace memorandum inked on Monday.

An “enhanced” community quarantine also mandates the regulation of the provision for food and essential health services, as well as the heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures.

Exempted from the implementation of “enhanced” community quarantine are soldiers, policemen, authorized government workers, health workers, and others performing other essential services.

The Health Department on Tuesday reported 45 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 187. PNA