Palace declares state of emergency over COVID-19 outbreak

Mar. 11, 2020

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Duterte has signed on Sunday, March 8, Proclamation No.922 declaring a state of Public Health Emergency nationwide following the confirmation of local transmission of coronavirus disease in the Philippines.

The declaration came after the Department of Health (DOH) raised the COVID-19 Alert System to Code Red sublevel 1 citing an increase in confirmed cases making the country’s total to 33, as of Tuesday evening.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that the alert level issuance of the DOH is a preemptive call to ensure that the entire government is prepared for possible COVID 19 upticks.

“The President has agreed to issue the declaration after considering all critical factors with the aim of safeguarding the health of the Filipino public,” he added.

With the Proclamation, Duterte instructed government agencies and LGUs to extend full assistance and mobilize necessary resources to undertake urgent, timely and appropriate response to curtail and eliminate the Covid threat.

Department of Health Sec. Francisco Duque said that the proclamation is in line with Republic Act 1132 or the Disease Notifiable Act.

“The objectives are clear. It aims to facilitate easy access to funding especially to LGU’s for preparatory activities or actual response, streamline the procurement process on the materials needed in the COVID response. It also includes the mandatory reporting of all health facilities both public and private (hospitals)on their intensified surveillance on acute respiratory and influenza-like illnesses, mandatory quarantine, implementation of travel restrictions. It will also empower and authorize the DOH and the DTI in setting price freeze on materials,” Duque added.

For House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate the DOH should get its act together to avoid misinformation and causing panic to the public.

“Duque could have declared this on his own because this is within the powers of the DOH secretary under RA 11332. He dillydallied and even wrongly passed the buck to Malacanang,” Zarate said.

Meanwhile, the local government of Davao has issued guidelines as a response to the Code Red Alert over COVID-19.

The guidelines ordered City Hall employees and public institutions to conduct disinfection protocols on frequently touched surfaces, require the use of hand sanitizers and alcohol for the public in government offices and require everybody to abide by the DOH advisory.

More than 113,000 people have been infected by COVID-19 across the world and 4,015 have died from it, according to the World Health Organization. (

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