(UPDATE) President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said Wednesday he was inclined to retain the state of public health emergency due to COVID-19 until the end of the year to ensure that the country would continue receiving international aid.
The state of public health emergency was first declared by former President Rodrigo Duterte in March 2020. During which, millions of Filipinos endured months-long lockdowns and face shield mandates.
"We were just discussing it with Usec. Vergeire because maraming mga binibigay sa international medical community kapag state of emergency, WHO is one of them. At kung itigil natin ang state of emergency, matitigil yun," Marcos told reporters on the sidelines of a vaccination event in Manila.
"We are looking at amending the law in terms of procurement and all of that in the middle of an emergency but that will take time. So malamang we will extend it until the end of the year," he added.
A declaration of a state of public health emergency will allow the national and local governments to use public funds and implement urgent measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Marcos and his eldest son, Ilocos Norte Rep. Sandro Marcos, received booster shots during the event to underscore the importance of getting vaccinated against the coronavirus.
"Para makabalik sa trabaho, para makabalik sa eskwelahan, at para maging ligtas tayo, we have to encourage everyone to have a booster shot para masasabi natin na fully immunized," he said.
"That really is the reason I've come here today, to highlight the importance of having the booster shot... to show everyone it is safe, it is effective, it is needed," he added.
During his inaugural speech, he also said he would fix the government's "shortcomings" in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, assuring the public that there would be "no more secrets" when it comes to public health issues.