MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) is still studying the effect of lifting the state of calamity declaration due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as it is expected to lapse in a month.
Under Proclamation 1218, former President Rodrigo Duterte extended the state of calamity throughout the country for one year from Sept. 13, 2021 to Sept. 12, 2022.
In a media forum, DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said the agency has submitted to previous officials of Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases some considerations to look into the extension or lifting of state of calamity nationwide due to Covid-19.
She said one of the considerations is the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination program because it is anchored to Republic Act 11525, or the act expediting the vaccine procurement and administration process, providing funds thereof, and for other purposes.
"Meaning, if we lift the state of calamity, the RA 11525 will cease to exist or cease to be valid pati narin po 'yung EUA (emergency use authorization) natin, mawawalan din po ng bisa. Sa ngayon, wala pa po tayong maraming manufacturers applying for CPR (certificate of product registration) (also the EUA, will expire. We don't have many manufacturers applying for CPR now)," she added.
The DOH is working with the Food and Drug Administration and other agencies to have more Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers apply for CPR within the state of calamity so the country could have its own certified jabs which can be used once the declaration is lifted.
Vergeire said emergency procurement of vaccines, tax exemptions for vaccine manufacturers and donors, price caps on medicines used for Covid-19 treatment, and additional benefits of healthcare workers would also be affected by the absence of a state of calamity policy.
"So, lahat ng ito ay pinagtatratrabahuhan natin, pinag-aaralan at makikipag-usap at coordination tayo with other agencies so that we can all be able to manage lahat ng proseso na mawawala para (we are working on, studying all these and we will coordinate with other agencies so that we can be able to manage all processes that will expire so) even if the state of calamity is lifted, we can go on with our response," she added. (PNA)