State of public health emergency EO signed

March 09, 2020
Rodrigo Duterte

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has already signed the executive order declaring a public health emergency over the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, according to presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

“Napirmahan na, ire-release na namin ‘yung executive order,” he said.

Panelo said under such declaration, the country can control the prices of basic commodities and can purchase medical equipment without the requisite bidding process.

Asked if the purchase without bidding will open the government to corruption, Panelo said, “Sa panahon ng mga nakaraang administration siguro, not in this administration.”

“Alam naman natin si Presidente. Ibang klaseng presidente ito, hindi uubra sa kaniya ‘yung mga ganyan,” Panelo added.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said that under a state of public health emergency, no one can refuse to undergo quarantine procedures.

Senator Bong Go, the former special assistant to the president, said over the weekend that Duterte had agreed to declare a public health emergency after COVID-19 cases in the country rose to six.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said the Department of Health had recommended the declaration after it raised its alert to Code Red Sub-Level 1 as it confirmed the fifth COVID-19 patient was a case of local transmission.

The country now has 10 confirmed cases after the DOH announced four more on Sunday. Three, all Chinese, were declared in January and February, while two more were added on Friday and another on Saturday.