President Rodrigo Duterte will extend the state of calamity, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for another six months unless lifted or stretched anew.
In a televised briefing Wednesday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the declaration was already on the President’s desk and “probably signed by now.”
“He probably signed by now, on its way down to the Office of the Executive Secretary,” he said.
The Palace has yet to release the signed document as of press time.
President Duterte first declared a state of calamity on 16 March through Proclamation 929, allowing the national government and local chief executives to utilize appropriate funds in their COVID-19 response efforts.
He is hopeful life will be back to normal this year when vaccines become available.
Experts observed a flattening of the pandemic curve, but the country still has the highest total caseload in Southeast Asia (SEA), overtaking Indonesia and Singapore.
The Philippines has so far recorded over 273,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections, of which 60,344 are active.
The death toll has reached 4,732 while the recoveries soared to 207,858.
To date, Indonesia has 228,993 total cases, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, while Singapore has 57,515. Malaysia is running fourth with 10,031.
Indonesia, however, has more deaths at 9,100 while Singapore only has 27.
Laos has the least number of confirmed cases among the 10 SEA nations at 23 and zero fatalities.
Meanwhile, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) turned over a 120-bed capacity quarantine facility in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, located at National Steel Corporation multi-purpose building.
Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force on COVID-19 and DPWH Undersecretary Emil Sadain turned over the completed facility to Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia.
The new facility augmented the total number of COVID-19 beds in the city into 240 after three other isolation facilities were completed in Barangays Poblacion, Tominobo and Sta. Felomin in August.