Non-extension of state of calamity due to Covid boosts PH image

Non-extension of state of calamity due to Covid boosts PH image

MANILA – Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri has thrown his full support behind President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’ decision not to extend the state of calamity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, saying the president’s move will greatly help boost the country’s image, especially to foreign tourists.

“I support the President’s non-extension of the Covid-19 state of calamity because it would really paint a bad light on the Philippines (if it is extended). And you know, as we know, it’s almost back to normal,” Zubiri said in an interview Wednesday.

He said foreign tourists would be very hesitant to visit the country if they see online that there is a prevailing state of calamity in the country due to the pandemic.

It would look to them like the country has so many cases of Covid which the government cannot control, Zubiri said.

“The point is the President does not want to tarnish the image of the country by extending the state of calamity. He wants it rectified by legislation,” he said.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier requested President Marcos to extend the state of calamity after the proposed measure for the creation of Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) was not enacted on time.

“So that is why we are focusing on the passage of the CDC. Naka-incorporate na po diyan ‘yong mga (Incorporated in the bill are the) requests of the DOH for special powers, particularly for the vaccination program,” Zubiri said.

Besides the CDC bill, Zubiri said they are also working on the swift approval of the bills creating the Medical Reserve Corps and the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines.

The Senate President said Congress has also approved an additional PHP25 billion in Covid response fund that will be used to cover the allowances for health frontliners, logistics and other logistical needs of the DOH. (PNA)

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