Duterte declares ‘state of calamity’ in Philippines due to coronavirus

Covid19 calamity
People wear face masks for protection from the Covid-19 coronavirus in Manila earlier this month. Image: Jire Carreon/Rappler

By Aika Rey in Manila

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a state of calamity in the Philippines as cases of the novel coronavirus in the country continue to rise.

Duterte signed Proclamation No. 929 on Monday placing the country under a state of calamity for 6 months, “unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant”.

The copy of the proclamation was only sent to the media yesterday.

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The proclamation also officially declared enhanced community quarantine over the entire island of Luzon.

Duterte also directed all government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to “render full assistance and cooperation” with each other, and mobilise resources to battle Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

‘Ensuring peace and order’
The President ordered law enforcement agencies, with the support of the military, to undertake all necessary measures to “ensure peace and order in the affected areas.”

The declaration of a state of calamity allows local governments to tap into their quick response funds for relief efforts.

Before the President’s proclamation, at least 8 LGUs in Luzon have already declared a state of calamity in their respective jurisdictions.

As of writing, there are 187 coronavirus cases in the Philippines, majority of which are in Manila. Four people have already recovered from the virus, while 12 have died.

Globally, there are more than 198,000 cases, with at least 7,948 deaths across 145 countries. Almost 82,000 people have recovered.

The Philippines has a population of about 110 million.

Aika Rey is a reporter for the independent news website Rappler.

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