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Joey Con Doesn't Know that the State of Calamity Expired Last 31 December 2022? DOH's OIC Vergeire Cannot Accept that the SOC is Over and Seems to be Requiring a Declaration from the President.
Why are local officials clinging to the 5-weeks lapsed SOC as if it were still to be reinstated? Perhaps the President could step in to clarify matters for his bewildered officials. Time to move on?
How does Joey Concepcion, entrepreneurial advisor to the President not know that the State of Calamity has already expired? Today he was calling for it to be lifted and business activities to return to normal.
The President doesn’t need to lift the State of Calamity, it was only extended to 31 December 2022, ‘unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant.” As it was not extended after 31st December 2022, five weeks ago, it has already lapsed!
Meanwhile DOH’s Vergeire is still fishing for a definitive statement on the SOC from the President. It seems that she also cannot accept that the state of calamity lapsed more than 5 weeks ago! She apparently continues to be single-mindedly focused on vaccines, vaccines, and more vaccines!
No SOC means DOH has to revert to regular procurement channels. This is a very curious article to read in its entirety.
Regular procurement is subject to transparency! Transparency was not required under state of calamity?
DOH is looking for a special permit for it to procure C19 jabs (without Certificate of Product Registration?).
DOH also notes that there are also issues with liability when there is no more State of Calamity!
There is no more state of calamity! There is no more indemnification! There hasn’t been for the past 5 weeks! [This could be an opportunity for an injured person with an astute legal team].
The article also notes that the President hasn’t lifted the State of Health Emergency that was first declared in March 2020.
I cannot clearly determine the differences between the State of Health Emergency and the lapsed State of Calamity, both terms seem to be used somewhat interchangeably. Clarification, is required.
There was a comment by DOH last August 2022 as reported by ABS-CBN that the President cannot lift the State of Health Emergency because it is imposed by WHO.
The Department of Health (DOH) has said government has no authority to lift the public health state of emergency as it was the World Health Organization that declared it.
Duterte's proclamation also stated that it would remain in place "until lifted or withdrawn by the President."
STATE OF PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY VS STATE OF CALAMITY
The state of calamity declaration is different from the state of public health emergency because the former is geared towards the regulation of vaccines, clearance of COVID-19 drugs, and cheap prices of medicines, while the latter empowers local governments to enforce measures to prevent the further spread of the virus.
Government can lift only the state of calamity it declared due to the pandemic, set to lapse on September 12, Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said.
Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said the state of calamity extension would be up to the recommendation of the health department.
I found this 2nd February 2023 article, that seems to indicate that the State of Public Health Emergency has also lapsed.
The President and his Finance Secretary seem to consider there is no longer any urgency with regards to Covid-19 and vaccination. They further acknowledge that Filipinos no longer want these products.
The article also notes that the on-hand unused 70 million doses (this is higher than the previous 50 million doses estimate I have referenced from DOH sources), are for the prior strains, not the current omicron strain. Does this make them obsolete? A 3-year old vaccine.
Formal Declaration May Be Needed to End Confusion
Is there a degree of miscommunication between the President and his appointed officials / advisors? Clearly President Marcos has made no move to reactivate the State of Calamity in the past 5 weeks. Why would that change now? Perhaps it is time for the President to state definitively the status of the State of Calamity / State of Public Health Emergency, to formally end them as he decides, and to declare formally whether or not there still remains any Covid-19 emergency at all in the Philippines.
While our Honorable President is at it, perhaps he could end the pointless testing that is still being required (at great cost) to access certain essential services and venues, and by many worksites for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Perhaps he could finally lift all Covid-19 measures and testing for arriving visitors to put the Philippines on par with many nations who no longer have any testing or reporting requirements.