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Duterte declares state of calamity throughout PH for 6 months as COVID-19 cases rise

Duterte declares state of calamity throughout PH for 6 months as COVID-19 cases rise

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Duterte's press conference about COVID-19

Following the Malacañang earlier pronouncement of a Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, President Duterte in a new presidential proclamation has declared a state of calamity throughout the country.

Citing a recommendation from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the move is said to give the national government as well as LGUs “ample latitude to utilize appropriate funds, including the Quick Response Fund (QRF), in their preparedness and response efforts to contain COVID-19.”

What are Quick Response Funds?

According to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), QRFs are “built-in budgetary allocations that represent pre-disaster or standby funds for agencies in order to immediately assist areas stricken by catastrophes and crises.”

DBM also notes that “unlike the Calamity Fund, the QRF does not require the recommendation of the NDRRMC or the approval of the Office of the President to trigger the use and release of funds. When the QRF gets depleted, the agency may request for replenishment with a request to the DBM and to be approved by the Office of the President.”

The Department of Health, for example, has P81 million in QRF. In an interview, DBM Undersecretary Janet Abuel said there is also P100 million worth of “unreleased” QRFs for the DOH in case the agency needs more.

Proclamation 929, signed Mar. 16, will further strengthen the on-going enhanced community quarantine, which took effect on the same day at 12 midnight.

Section 1 of the proclamation states that the declaration will last for a period of six months “unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstance may warrant.”

As of writing, there are more than 180 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.

 

Header photo courtesy of the Office of the President

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