EXTENDING the period of state of calamity due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) beyond December 31 may no longer be necessary.

This as the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, November 11, 2022, said it is pushing for the immediate passage of a law that will allow the government to continue mechanisms provided under a state of calamity sans such a declaration.

“We have submitted to the House of Representatives the Public Health Emergency for Emerging and Reemerging Disease Bill,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in a press conference on Friday.

“This is one of the priority bills of this current administration,” she added.

Under the proposed law, the national government may still be able to purchase vaccines, implement vaccination, activate responses for health emergencies and provide benefits to healthcare workers despite the absence of a state of calamity declaration.

The DOH officer-in-charge said such provisions make it unnecessary to have a state of calamity declaration or extension.

“In this bill, you’ll find the different components on what we should be doing even even if we are not anchored on a declaration of state of calamity,” Vergeire said.

“This will become the basis of the different actions that we will do in terms of public health emergency,” she added.

Under Proclamation No. 57, the state of calamity declared throughout the Philippines has been extended by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. until December 31.

A state of calamity was first declared by then president Rodrigo Duterte on March 16, 2020 after the start of the Covid-19 outbreak. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)