President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday ordered the Department of Health (DOH) to ensure that healthcare workers will continue to receive their allowances despite the expiration of the state of calamity declared in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Marcos made this remark in a meeting with DOH officials at Malacañan Palace. The state of calamity expired on Dec. 31, 2022.
“Tuloy-tuloy ‘yan… Yung inaalala ko dati na hindi matutuloy ang compensation para sa ating health workers…‘Yung allowance nila ay pinag-aralan namin nang mabuti kahit hindi itinutuloy ang state of calamity ay hindi maapektuhan ang pagbayad doon sa ating mga health workers ng kanilang mga benefits (That will continue. I used to be concerned that the compensation for our health workers would not continue…We carefully studied their allowances and even if the state of calamity is not extended, their benefits will not be affected),” he said.
Proclamation No. 929, signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte, declared a state of calamity across the country in March 2020, when Covid-19 began to spread in the country.
The state of calamity was supposed to last for six months but was extended for a year up to Sept. 12, 2021, via Proclamation No. 1021, and was extended for a second time through Proclamation No. 1218.
DOH officer-in-charge Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire said her agency earlier sought an extension of the state of calamity but said it will respect Marcos’ decision on the matter.
Meanwhile, Marcos also assured that the country currently has sufficient supply of Covid-19 vaccine doses.
“Pababa naman nang pababa ang ating cases, pababa nang pababa naman ang ating hospitalization, ‘yun ang binabantayan natin. So titingnan natin (Our cases and hospitalization rates are going down so that’s what we’re monitoring. We will have to see),” Marcos said.
“Hindi na kailangan kagaya ng 2021 na lagi tayong nagmamadali makakuha ng vaccine dahil pabawas na ‘yung risk, so dapat naman eh mag-adjust din tayo doon sa kung ano ba talaga ang scientific na assessment doon sa sitwasyon ng Covid (The vaccines aren’t as necessary as they were in 2021 when we were scrambling to get them because the risk is lower now so we should adjust based on the scientific assessment of the Covid-19 situation),” he added.
He, likewise, welcomed the decline in the number of Covid-19 infections in the country.
Data from the DOH showed that a total of 1,206 new Covid-19 cases were recorded during the week of Jan. 23-29.
The average number of new cases per day during the period stood at 172, reflecting a 36 percent decline from the cases logged on Jan. 16-22.
The DOH has so far vaccinated 73 million individuals, or 94.54 percent of the target population, while 21 million individuals have received their booster shots.
A total of 6.9 million senior citizens, or 79.47 percent of the target A2 population, have received the primary series of Covid-19 vaccines, while 2.76 million senior citizens had their booster shots. (PNA)