Public health emergency extension lauded

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Saturday expressed support for President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s decision not to lift the State of Public Health Emergency until the end of the year, saying that it will sustain efforts to overcome the global health crisis.

“Once extended, hopefully, this will allow the government to continue to procure vaccines under emergency use authorization or EUA and impose price controls on select basic commodities,” Go said in a statement.

The senator noted that extending the State of Calamity will also stretch the effectiveness of Republic Act 11525 or the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021.

The said law authorizes the private sector and local government units to help in carrying out the national vaccination program.

“As the chair of Senate Committee on Health, I support measures of the government that protects the welfare and health of our countrymen because the most important is the lives of the Filipino people,” he said.

In a media interview during the “PinasLakas” vaccine booster campaign at a mall in Manila last week, Marcos said he has discussed with DoH Officer-in-Charge and Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire the possible extension of the SPHE “until the end of the year.”

Go emphasized that when the country is in a state of calamity, it allows the national government and local government units to implement the Covid-19 vaccination program.

He added that this also empowers the national government to increase pandemic response funds, control prices of basic goods, and provide basic services to affected individuals.

On 8 March 2020, then-President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of public health emergency when the Department of Health reported the very first few local cases of Covid-19.

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