DOH: ‘PBBM not likely to extend Covid-19 state of calamity’

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MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) said that with Covid-19 cases in the country now manageable, President Marcos is no longer inclined to extend the state of calamity.

“The President is really very hesitant to extend the state of calamity (due to COVID-19). The DOH, in actuality, we requested for the extension not because of what we have as a situation but because of technical reasons, because of the different conditions such as vaccines and other things,” DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an interview with “The Chiefs” aired on Cignal TV’s One News on Wednesday night.

She said she met with the President recently, and that he was not in favor of the country still being classified under a state of calamity or emergency.

“This is because we are now seeing that our cases are manageable, our hospitals are well prepared and our occupancy rate for our COVID-19 cases is very low,” said Vergeire. “I think we are all moving forward. We just need to ensure that our safeguards are there so that if and when a new variant enters the country and cases start to increase, our (health care) system will be able to manage.”

Vergeire added that even with the expiration of the state of calamity, the country can still push through with the purchase of bivalent vaccines.

“We just need to go through the usual process of procurement. This is what we call competitive bidding and we have discussed this with the President already and he told us to go ahead,” the health OIC said.

“Donations of bivalent vaccines are expected to arrive soon, and that in about how many months, the vaccines we procured will also come in and vaccination will just be continuing. We don’t see any gap in the vaccination of the population against COVID-19,” she added.

As to the issue of the President appointing a new health secretary, Vergeire said that there was no offer from the Office of the President (OP) for her to become the DOH secretary.

“I just like to clarify that from the very start, the post was never offered to me. I was assigned as OIC and was told to just stay on and do the work and that’s what I have been doing,” she added. “There were people asking me, some feelers… that I can possibly take on the job but never coming from the OP.”

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.