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PBBM says PH must get away from covid emergency; cites need to open up businesses

MANILA -- President Ferdinand R. Marcos on Thursday said he has yet to appoint a permanent chief of the Department of Health (DOH) because the country has to move away from COVID-19 emergency and businesses have to be opened up.

“We have to get away from the emergency, the emergency stance of the DOH because we have to open up businesses. We have to make the Philippines more hospitable to travelers, both business and tourists,” Marcos said during a media interview following his speech at the 48th Philippine Business Conference and Exposition (PBC&E) organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) at the Manila Hotel.

“And it does not help if we are still under a state of calamity, if we are the only country that still has a mask protocol. But these are mandated to us by the laws that were passed during the pandemic. So kailangan pa nating ayusin ‘yun,” the President pointed out.

Marcos said in the case of DOH, it’s not structural changes, but the method of handling the pandemic.

The government, he said, should start treating COVID-19 not as an emergency but as something that has to be managed in the long term like flu and pneumonia.

“Nandiyan lagi ‘yan pero mag-ingat tayo para hindi tayo magkasakit. And that is the way that we should be handling COVID. We cannot remove ourselves yet from the way that we are handling it,” Marcos explained.

The current state of calamity should also remain to allow health workers to get the benefits they deserve under the law, Marcos said, adding that lifting it would make it harder for the government to import vaccines, and pursue other procurements.

The chief executive also made an assessment on the present COVID-19 situation, saying the risk factor of contracting the virus today is very different from the risk factor of getting it one or two years ago. (PND)

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Kate Shiene Austria

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Information Officer III under the Creative Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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