WITH President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. not keen on extending the state of calamity in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, December 30, 2022, said it is already exploring alternatives to its coronavirus disease (Covid-19) responses.

In a brief statement, the DOH said it is already looking at the options available to them in continuing the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines sans the declaration of a state of calamity extension.

“If the extension will not be approved, we can still continue with the Covid-19 vaccination program using existing doses considering their validity is hinged on their emergency use authorizations (EUAs),” said the DOH.

“However, we cannot procure additional doses, including the bivalent vaccines,” it added.

The DOH said it may also press for the issuance of a “special authorization” from the President.

“We were informed that a special authority to purchase may be granted. We continue to coordinate with the Office of the President. Let us wait for the decision of the President,” said the agency.

It said it is also in talks with the Presidential Legislative and Liaison Office (PLLO) regarding the fate of the Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) Act.

“We are working with the PLLO to fast-track the passage of the PH CDC bill. We have requested the same to be certified as urgent by the President,” said the DOH.

Congress earlier failed to pass the law on the creation of the CDC ahead of the expiration of the state of calamity declaration Saturday, December 31.

The passage of the CDC law would have removed the necessity of extending the state of calamity declaration beyond December 31.

In turn, the DOH asked Marcos to extend the declaration of the state of calamity in the Philippines due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, Marcos said he is “very, very hesitant” to continue the state of calamity since the country is no longer under such a condition. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)