Philippine president Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has formally lifted the state of public health emergency declared due to COVID.
The president issued a proclamation on Friday, published by the presidential office over the weekend, noting that the orders under the state of the emergency “shall be deemed withdrawn, revoked or cancelled and shall no longer be in effect,” notes the presidential communications office.
However, the proclamation relating to vaccines will remain in effect for one year “for the sole purposes of exhausting the remaining vaccines”.
The emergency status was implemented in March of 2020, just days ahead of a nationwide lockdown.
Authorities justify the lifting of the emergency measure due to the decrease in cases of COVID in the nation, current safety and travel protocols (including the use of masks on all forms of public transport, including planes) and the high vaccination rates.
The authorities also cited the World Health Organization’s highlighting of a drop in COVID-related deaths and hospitalizations and high levels of immunity worldwide, noting that the virus was no longer a public health emergency of international concern.
The emergency measures allowed for Congress to authorize the President to ‘exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared national policy’, including ‘to mobilize governmental and non-governmental agencies to respond to the threat’.
This includes to ‘enforce quarantine and disease prevention measures’, ‘implement urgent and critical measures to contain or prevent the spread of Covid-19 […] and prevent serious disruption of the functioning of the government and the community’.
It allowed for the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies to ‘provide assistance in addressing the Covid-19 threat’, with ‘citizens, residents, tourists and establishment owners’ urged to comply with the relevant directories as they were issued.
Under the state of emergency, casino operators in the nation were forced to shut down for months, and implement strict health measures in order to re-open.
The state of emergency was authorized on March 8th of 2020 by then-president Rodrigo Duterte.