Control and Support Measures in the Philippines Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
On 16 March 2020, the Philippine President declared a State of Calamity throughout the Philippines for a period of six months and imposed an Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") throughout Luzon (the biggest island in the Philippines where Metro Manila is located) until 12 April 2020. The ECQ was subsequently extended to 30 April 2020. The imposition of the ECQ resulted in the implementation of strict social distancing, travel restrictions, alternative work arrangements, and strict home quarantine measures in all households with some limited exceptions such as for purposes of accessing essential goods and conduct of essential services. Several government offices have also limited their operations and extended the submission to their office of required filings and documents.
In order to optimise the government’s efforts in responding against the health and economic costs posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Congress enacted Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act ("Act"). The Act granted the President certain emergency powers and the authority necessary to carry out urgent measures, including the authority to direct the operation of privately-owned hospitals and medical and health facilities, and ensure availability of essential goods, among others.
The Act also authorised and prioritised the augmentation of the operational budget of government hospitals, calamity funds, and budget of various social amelioration programs. These programs aim to assist those heavily affected by the pandemic and come in the form of cash subsidies. Under the Act, the President is empowered to move statutory deadlines and timelines for the payments of taxes. The Act likewise directed the implementation of a minimum of a thirty 30-day grace period for the payments of loans, utility bills, residential, and commercial rents. The Act also liberalised the grant of incentives for the manufacture or importation of critical or needed equipment or supplies wherein the importation of these equipment and supplies shall be exempt from import duties, taxes, and other fees. Local government units are also authorised to enact other necessary measures to protect its citizens.
On 24 April 2020, the Philippine President announced the extension of the ECQ in Metro Manila, Central Luzon (except Aurora which is under general community quarantine), CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), and other high-risk areas in Luzon until 15 May 2020. Moderate-risk and low-risk areas in Luzon will be placed under general community quarantine starting 1 May 2020. The President also placed some areas in Visayas and Mindanao under ECQ.
Back to Top Print
Please note that whilst the information in this Update is correct to the best of our knowledge and belief at the time of writing, it is only
intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and should not be treated as a substitute for specific professional advice.