Drilon: Duterte can only declare state of public health emergency when COVID-19 threatens nat'l security

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon / Photo file from Philstar

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon stressed on Sunday that the President should only declare a public health emergency when the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) becomes a threat to national security.

This comment from the opposition lawmaker came out after Senator Bong Go declared on Sunday that President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed to declare a public health emergency.

"And when the same threatens national security, the President shall declare a state of public health emergency and mobilize government and non-governmental agencies to respond to the threat. So only in cases where the epidemic threatens national security," Drilon said in an interview aired on GMA news TV.

Drilon explained that only the President can determine whether the situation is already a threat to the national security, given the kind of intel he is receiving.

“The decision whether an epidemic threatens national security is a political decision that is left to the wisdom of the President, who has access to vital information,” the lawmaker said

"Ngayon, 'yan na nga epidemic, pero kapag naging national security concern or threatens national security, the President may declare a state of public health emergency," Drilon said.

Meanwhile, Drilon also expressed his disappointment with the Department of Health (DOH) that has yet to issue implementing rules and regulations for Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.”

Drilon stressed that RA 11332 provides for mandatory reporting of notifiable diseases and health events concerning the public, adding that the law could help establish the protocol and right procedures in handling the threat.

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