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Prez Duterte declares nationwide state of calamity amidst COVID-19 threat

FILE PHOTO: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during his fourth State of the Nation Address at the Philippine Congress in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez/

President Rodrigo Duterte signed a proclamation that puts the whole Philippines under a state of calamity due to the 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Under Presidential Proclamation No. 929, signed on Monday, March 16, the state of calamity will last for six months ‘unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant’.

The proclamation enjoins all government agencies and local government units ‘to render full assistance to and cooperation with each other and mobilize the necessary resources to undertake critical, urgent, and appropriate disaster response aid and measures in a timely manner to curtail and eliminate the threat of COVID-19’.

President Duterte also directed all law government agencies, with the support from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to undertake all necessary measures to ensure peace and order in areas affected by the virus.

The declaration also states that Executive Sec. Salvador Medialdea, Health Sec. Francisco Duque III, and other concerned heads of departments should issue guidelines governing the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine all over Luzon.

As of Tuesday, March 17, the Department of Health has already confirmed at least 187 patients in the Philippines have tested positive for COVID-19.

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