DOH says order ‘positive step forward,’ transition to long-term management of coronavirus starts
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has officially lifted the State of Public Health Emergency across the country for the COVID-19 pandemic, more than three years after former President Rodrigo Duterte declared the emergency.
According to the Presidential Communications Office, Mr. Marcos issued Proclamation No.297 on July 21, lifting the public health emergency throughout the Philippines.
“All prior orders, memoranda, and issuances that are effective only during the State of Public Health Emergency shall be deemed withdrawn, revoked, or canceled and shall no longer be in effect,” the proclamation said.
In a statement, the Department of Health deemed the lifting of the state of emergency as a positive step forward.
Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa “wholeheartedly” agreed that conditions no longer necessitate the continuation of the public health emergency status.
“The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) will convene for a final meeting to formally conclude the public health emergency, following which a comprehensive Final Report will be prepared for our fellow kababayans,” the DOH said in a statement released on their social media pages.
The proclamation states that it is time to transition to the long-term management of the COVID-19 virus.
Meanwhile, the emergency use authorization (EUA) issued by the Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19 vaccines will remain valid until next year or July 21, 2024.
It also stated that despite COVID-19 remaining a danger to select subpopulations and still requiring an immediate public response, the country has maintained sufficient healthcare system capacity and low hospital bed utilization rates even after the liberalization of COVID-19 health protocols.
The President also ordered all government agencies to consider their policies, rules, and regulations with the lifting of the state emergency and to amend existing or promulgate new issuances, as they seem appropriate.
Previously, the World Health Organization (WHO) emphasized the decreasing number of COVID-19 deaths and the decline of COVID-19-related hospitalization.
WHO also stressed the high number of population immunity. Senators Imee Marcos and Jinggoy Estrada meanwhile said they agree with President Marcos’ decision, saying it signifies a positive step forward in the country’s fight against the pandemic and containing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“This is the time because we all know we don’t want lockdowns anymore,” Marcos said.
Estrada said the President’s decision is a strong indication that the Philippines is on the road to recovery.
“While we celebrate this development, we must remain vigilant and continue to follow health guidelines to ensure that the gains we have made are sustained. We must remain proactive in our efforts to protect public health and safety,” he said.
“We respect the decision of President Bongbong Marcos. We trust that it was arrived at after careful consideration of the present health issue and the need to finally open up the economy,” said Go.
“My appeal to the executive branch of the government is to make sure that our healthcare workers are given what they should have gotten by law,” he added.
“That includes those who have not yet been given their COVID-19-related allowances, as well as death benefits for those who gave their lives in our fight against COVID-19.”