Duterte likely to extend state of calamity due to COVID-19, Roque says

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President Rodrigo Duterte (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 14) — President Rodrigo Duterte is likely to extend the declaration of a state of calamity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, his spokesman said Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte will likely renew or extend Proclamation 929 issued in March that placed the entire country under state of calamity due to the local coronavirus outbreak.

"Most likely po, dahil habang wala pang bakuna, habang walang gamot sa COVID, patuloy po ang epekto ng pandemya [Most likely, he will. As long as there's no vaccine or cure for COVID, the pandemic will continue to affect us," Roque said during his media briefing, clarifying he does not know yet when a subsequent proclamation will be signed.

The President initially placed the Philippines under a state of public health emergency on March 8, which was eventually scaled up on March 16 as the country confirmed local transmissions. The state of calamity declaration lasts for six months, which would mean it is set to expire this week.

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This meant that all government agencies and local government units are asked to render full assistance and cooperation to provide "critical, urgent and appropriate response" to address the situation.

The document also carries a provision allowing Duterte to either lift or extend the state of calamity "as circumstances may warrant."

The declaration of a state of calamity will allow agencies and LGUs to tap quick response funds to enhance disaster preparedness efforts amid its fight against COVID-19.

There are now 261,216 confirmed cases in the country. Some 207,568 patients recovered while 4,371 have died as of Sunday.