DOH sees extension of state of calamity until yearend
MANILA, Philippines — Department of Health (DOH) officer in charge Maria Rosario Vergeire on Friday said she was confident that the prevailing state of calamity in the country due to COVID-19 would be extended after President Marcos himself said he would likely extend it until the end of the year.
“With that pronouncement, what we did was to communicate with the NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) because they are the ones who will make the recommendation to the President when it comes to the state of calamity,” Vergeire told reporters at a press conference.
Vergeire said she had forwarded the DOH’s recommendations to the NDRRMC for the extension of the state of calamity before it expires in 10 days, or on Sept. 12.
The NDRRMC is set to convene next week to have the recommendation approved, she added, or the expiration of the declaration would have problematic consequences.
The Philippines was first placed under a state of calamity on March 16, 2020, to Sept. 13 of the same year and was extended twice since, precisely because of the complications.
For one, the health undersecretary earlier said Republic Act No. 11525, also known as the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, would expire once the state of calamity ends and all emergency use authorizations issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would also expire.
All COVID-19 vaccines from the stockpiles of the government and private sector are under emergency use because they underwent scrutiny only up to the third phase of preliminary trials.
The current proclamation also includes a key provision that the declaration of a state of calamity will “effectively afford the national government, as well as the local government units, ample latitude to continue to implement the COVID-19 vaccination program and utilize appropriate funds for the management of COVID-19.”
So extraordinary budget measures would also expire without the state of calamity and that would cover funds in the 2022 budget that have been allocated for use during the calamity.
But Vergeire noted that she had already advised the FDA to be proactive in approving the commercial use and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines by encouraging manufacturers to apply for certificates of product registration (CPR) that would allow them to sell the vaccines directly to be public.
Developers of COVID-19 vaccines are required to secure a CPR from the FDA for them to be able to sell, distribute, promote, advertise, import and export their product.
DOH wants extension of COVID-19 state of calamity in PH
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