Duterte Extends State of Calamity to 2021, What Does This Mean?

A State of Calamity declaration gives the President additional powers.
Photo/s: Simon Celi Jr/Presidential Photo

The Philippines will remain under a State of Calamity until September 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an order by President Rodrigo Duterte that was released to the public Friday.

This means Duterte will have powers that would otherwise be unavailable if the country is not under a State of Calamity. Rules on the State of Calamity were last revised in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that killed thousands in 2013.

Foremost, the declaration will allow the President to freeze the prices of basic goods for 60 days. The President can also impose a price ceiling, or a limit on how much prices can go up. The Official Gazette has a resource on the State of Calamity

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The President can offer interest-free loans through cooperatives and people's organizations. The funding can be sourced from government funds or multilateral lenders.

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The Chief Executive can tap into calamity funds and ask for a supplemental budget to respond to the calamity. He or she can also accept donations.

Under a State of Calamity, the President can import rice, the country's staple grain. Public health workers can also get hazard pay.

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The entire Philippines has been under some form of quarantine since mid-March and the government said that for the first time, there could be a flattening of the curve or a slowdown in infections by the end of September.

On Friday, there were 3,257 new cases, bringing the running total to 279,526 and of which, 65,906 are considered active.

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