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Netizens react to the Palace’s extension of the state of calamity while relaxing face mask use mandates

The Marcos Administration also aims to increase the number of boosted Filipinos to 23.8 million before October 8, 2022.

Almost every netizen had a violent reaction when Malacañang announced on September 12 that the state of calamity declaration in the country due to COVID-19 got extended for “possibly” three months (from September 13 to December 31 this year) after it was reported that the Philippines is “six percent away from the wall of immunity.”

“The state of calamity is extended for possibly three months but only for the purpose of preserving the benefits under it such as but not limited to the indemnification, emergency procurement, special risk allowance for healthcare workers,” Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a Palace press briefing.

Due to the percentage from the wall of immunity, she stressed why the government is confident enough to make the use of face masks voluntary outdoors.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation 929 on March 16, 2020, placing the country in a state of calamity for six months due to the pandemic. Proclamation No.1021 was later issued to extend the validity of the state of calamity for a year from 13 September 2020 to 12 September 2021.

A third extension was issued through Proclamation No.1218 which will run until September 12, 2022 “unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant.”

However, the fourth extension confused the public since President Marcos Jr. also signed Executive Order No. 3, which allowed people to wear face masks voluntarily outdoors.

Health practitioners disagree with the signing of Executive Order No. 3.

As of September 11, over 72.7 million Filipinos got vaccinated against COVID-19, but only 18 million received booster shots.

Dr. Tony Leachon pointed out discrepancies in the Palace’s recent decisions.

The number of Filipinos who received booster shots is far too low for the government to ease up on health measures related to the coronavirus.

Despite the criticism, the OCTA Research Group sided with the government in approving the voluntary use of face masks in outdoor settings.

“We support the government’s new policy on relaxing the mask mandate for the outdoors,” OCTA said in a statement.

OCTA would like to see the government define “a set of triggers to reimpose the use of masks outdoors should a serious surge in cases happen.”

“In OCTA we believe that any change in policy should be grounded in science and based on ensuring public health and safety for all.”

The Marcos Administration also aims to increase the number of boosted Filipinos to 23.8 million before October 8, 2022.

Written by Charles Teves

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