Marcos 'very, very hesitant' to extend COVID-19 state of calamity

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 29) - President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday expressed hesitance in extending the state of calamity in the country in the wake of COVID-19.

"I'm still very, very hesitant to continue the state of calamity, to extend it because again we are not in a state of calamity anymore, technically speaking," Marcos said.

"And that is the wrong mindset to be approaching the new year with," the president added.

The Department of Health (DOH) has urged the chief executive to extend the state of calamity, which ends on Dec. 31. The agency sought the extension as the bill establishing the Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control has not yet been enacted. 

It warned that lifting the declaration would invalidate the emergency use authorization (EUA) and compassionate special permits issued by the Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19 vaccines and medications.

The DOH said that while the country can still continue to use vaccines it has purchased — considering their validity is hinged on their EUAs — more shots may no longer be procured.

The COVID-19 allowances of an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 medical frontliners may also be affected once the state of calamity is lifted, according to Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. president Jose Rene de Grano.

"So, we're still trying to find ways to continue to provide the benefits to our medical health workers, which is the main issue without the state of calamity," Marcos said.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of calamity due to COVID-19 in March 2020 and has since extended the status twice.

This allows national and local officials to access quick response funds to address the needs of the public and enhance efforts to fight the pandemic.

In September, Marcos extended the status for three months until year-end.