By Darryl John Esguerra
Duterte signed Proclamation 929 on Monday, declaring a state of calamity in the entire country for a period of six months “unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant.”
Duterte’s declaration will allow local government units (LGUs) to access quick response funds during emergency situations.
“All government agencies and LGUs are enjoined to render full assistance to and cooperation with each other and 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,” Duterte’s Proclamation stated.
He also directed 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.”
Duterte earlier declared a state of public health emergency amid the continuous rise of COVID-19 cases in the country.
He also placed the entire Luzon island under “enhanced community quarantine,” shutting down public transportation and strictly enforcing home quarantine.
To date, the Philippines has 187 people infected with COVID-19, including 12 deaths and four recoveries.
The virus, which was first detected in Hubei, China, in late 2019 causes mild symptoms such as fever and cough for most people but can cause serious illness such as pneumonia for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.
To prevent infection, authorities are urging people to practice regular hand washing, cover the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoid close contact with those who show respiratory symptoms.