City mayors seeks extension of state of calamity

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The 145-member League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) called on
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to extend the declaration of the state
of calamity in the country due to the Covid-19 crisis until June 30,
2022.

The city mayors issued the “humble appeal” in a letter sent by Bacolod
City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, national LCP president, to Duterte dated
Sept. 9, a copy of which was furnished to reporters here on Thursday
afternoon.

In the letter, Leonardia told the President that extending the state
of calamity will “ensure that cities can respond to the threats of
Covid-19 and facilitate local economic recovery”.

“[This] will allow cities to implement programs that can lower the
current case rates of Covid-19, open more Covid wards and critical
care units, contain the surge of the Delta variant, and could supplant
the requirements of the ongoing vaccine rollout,” he added.

Presidential Proclamation 1021, which originally extended the state of
calamity “for a period of one year”, or from Sept. 13, 2020 to Sept.
12, 2021, will expire soon, but it may also be “extended as
circumstances may warrant”.

“If not extended, this will cripple the ability of cities to respond
to Covid-19,” Leonardia further said in the letter.

He noted that the authority of the local government units (LGUs) to
utilize the development funds, special education funds, local disaster
risk and reduction funds, and other available local resources to
undertake critical, urgent, and appropriate disaster response aid and
eliminate the threat of Covid-19 depends on the continuing existence
of a state of calamity.

“Without such declaration, the LGUs are constrained to work with
limited funding for their Covid-19 programs and related expenses,” he
added.

Leonardia also assured Duterte that city mayors “are committed to
working closely with the President’s Office and relevant national
agencies to ensure that we will overcome this pandemic soonest.”

In March last year, Duterte signed Proclamation 929 that placed the
entire Philippines under a state of calamity for six months due to the
Covid-19 health crisis.

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