PHILIPPINE President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. Has approved the lifting of public health emergency status due to the coronavirus, according to the Department of Health (DoH). 

He would issue an order soon, Health Secretary Teodoro “Ted” J. Herbosa told reporters on the sidelines of a palace briefing. “If that (executive order) is not yet signed, I will follow it up with reiteration.” 

The Health chief said an inter-agency task force had been hesitant to recommend the lifting of the emergency status since bivalent vaccines against the coronavirus were still being distributed. 

“That obstacle is gone since the vaccines have a certificate of product registration now and everything,” Mr. Herbosa said. 

The World Health Organization in May said the coronavirus was no longer a global health emergency. The Philippines posted 2,747 COVID-19 cases on June 19 to 25, with the daily average falling by 20% to 392 from a week earlier. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Marcos Jr. has ordered the Justice department to investigate the alleged hoarding, smuggling and price-fixing of agricultural products including onion after lawmakers raised the concern to him, the presidential palace said in a statement.  

The House of Representatives agriculture committee in May pointed to a group of companies that manipulated the prices of onion, which hit P700 per kilo last year. — John Victor D. Ordoñez