THE Department of Health (DOH) is pushing for the extension beyond December 31, 2022 of the state of calamity declared due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

In a press conference Tuesday, December 27, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they submitted a memorandum to the Office of the President (OP) before Christmas Day.

“We already submitted our memo to the President requesting the extension of the state of calamity,” said Vergeire.

“We already had a meeting last December 23 with the Office of the Presidential Management staff together with concerned agencies to explain to all of them why we are seeking this extension,” she added.

The health official reiterated that they are seeking to extend the state of calamity after the Center for Disease Control (CDC) bill failed to get the nod of Congress.

“(This is) in consideration of the fact that the CDC bill was not enacted on time,” said Vergeire.

She said if the state of calamity is extended, the government will be able to continue its different Covid-19 responses, mainly the ability to roll out the vaccines merely issued with emergency use authority (EUA).

“If the state of calamity would not be extended, we will be losing the different response strategies that we are doing right now, first of which is the Covid-19 vaccination program,” said Vergeire.

To recall, the DOH has pushed for the Public Emergency Health Bill, which has since been merged with the CDC bill.

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

It can be recalled that the state of calamity was first declared by then President Rodrigo Duterte on March 16, 2020 after the start of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Marcos has since extended the state of calamity until December 31. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)