IN THE midst of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) threat, President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the Philippines under the State of Public Health Emergency to abate the spread of novel coronavirus infections after Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III confirmed local transmissions of the disease.
It was announced that the President’s order came nearly three weeks after the DOH suggested declaring a Public Health Emergency when the first cases emerged.
As stated in Presidential Proclamation No. 922 signed on Sunday, the outbreak of Covid-19 constitutes an emergency that threatens national security which requires a whole-of-government response.
Further it stated that the declaration of a State of Public Health Emergency would capacitate government agencies and LGUs to immediately act to prevent loss of life, utilize appropriate resources to implement urgent and critical measures to contain or prevent the spread of Covid-19, mitigate its effects and impact to the community, and prevent serious disruption of the functioning of the government and the community.
The President asked the Filipino not to panic and do not be too stressed that it’s as if they are not allowed to do what they want to do. They still can but there are restrictions. He reiterate that we have these conditions because there is a crisis.
In this challenging times, the President advised Filipinos to stay healthy by eating the right food, taking vitamins, and observing protocols being suggested by government.
He also asked the public to avoid panicking, stressing that daily activities could still be carried out but only with “restrictions.”
He ended his message by asking the people not to kill themselves with worry because government is doing everything possible to make it controllable.
For the Department of Education (DepEd, Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones supported social distancing measure for schools and offices and commented that this will only be effective if students, parents, and the local governments will do their part in ensuring that students avoid places like malls, movie houses, markets, and similar crowded places.
According to report, DepEd will continue to closely monitor the situation and shall continue to take informed, coordinated and proportionate decisions, in close consultation with DOH and other members of the inter-agency task force (IATF), to contribute to meeting the challenge of containing and managing Covid-19.
DepEd also said should the public health situation prevent coming to school as outlined above, the Department shall issue a guideline for the evaluation of the final grades of all learners.
Relative to the class suspensions in areas where LGUs and DepEd suspend classes in Davao Region, Regional Director Evelyn R. Fetalvero directed the public schools to allow teachers not to report to schools as they can work in their homes for their year-end reports and other documents/paperworks. The school heads, however are required to report to schools. In the case of district supervisors, they are also required to report wherever they are stationed including nonteaching personnel in the schools and district offices are required to report to their stations. Their principals or PSDSs are encouraged to design a skeletal work scheme for them.
For private schools attendance of teaching and nonteaching personnel to their stations will depend upon the decision of private school owners or officials.