MANILA, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a state of national calamity for six months amid the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country.
"I hereby declared a state of calamity throughout the Philippines for a period of six months, unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant," said a proclamation signed by Duterte on Monday and released to the media on Tuesday.
"All government agencies and local government units are enjoined to render full assistance to and cooperation with each other and mobilize the necessary resources to undertake critical, urgent, and appropriate disaster response aid and measures in a timely manner to curtail and eliminate the threat of COVID-19," the proclamation read.
Duterte ordered all law enforcement agencies, with the support from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to undertake all necessary measures to ensure peace and order in affected areas, as may be necessary.
The declaration will put into effect a price freeze on basic commodities.
The Philippines now has 187 COVID-19 cases, including 12 deaths. Four patients have so far recovered from the viral disease.
The Philippines on Sunday started implementing a 30-day lockdown in Metro Manila to limit the movement of people in the densely populated region.
On Monday night, Duterte expanded the lockdown by placing the entire main Luzon island under "enhanced community quarantine" in a drastic bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.
"The idea here is to keep everybody on home quarantine," Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said after Duterte's announcement late Monday night, adding that public transportation is suspended.
Travel restrictions are being strictly imposed, preventing people, especially those living outside of Matro Manila, from commuting to their offices in the capital. Only a few essential establishments are open, including supermarkets, pharmacies during the 30-day lockdown.