Malacanang today, March 9, announced a state of public health emergency throughout the Philippines, pursuant to the Philippine Constitution and Republic Act No. 11332.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson read Proclamation No. 922, which was signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte yesterday, March 8, declaring a state of public health emergency throughout the Philippines due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019).
“The outbreak of COVID-19 constitutes an emergency that threatens national security which requires a whole-of-government response aligned with the Four-Door Framework for COVID-19 of the Department of Health (DOH) and the efforts of all concerned government units and local government units,” Secretary Panelo said quoting Proclamation No. 922.
Secretary Panelo added that the declaration of a state of public health emergency would capacitate government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to utilize appropriate resources to implement urgent and critical measures to contain or prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes tapping calamity funds by the LGUs.
The President’s chief legal counsel likewise underscored that in the event of a national emergency, Republic Act No. 9184, otherwise known as the “Government Procurement Reform Act,” provides for an exception to the rule that government procurement must only be done through competitive bidding, in reference to Senator Franklin Drilon’s remarks that the declaration of a public health emergency should not lead to “skirting of regular procurement processes.”
Under Republic Act No. 9184, a negotiated procurement may be resorted to during extraordinary circumstances whereby a procuring entity may directly negotiate a contract with a “technically, legally and financially capable supplier, contractor or consultant.”
When asked if a work-from-home scheme for the government workforce may be undertaken, Secretary Panelo stated that Malacanang is always open to any effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“Everything that would help contain the virus, the government will certainly adopt… Everything that will successfully restrain the spread of this virus to the communities,” Secretary Panelo pointed out.
In the same briefing, Sec. Panelo called on all media outlets to publish the statements of Secretary Francisco Duque and the bulletins issued by the DOH relative to the COVID-19 so Filipinos would know how to react and respond to the global health scare. ###OPS/PCOO