The adoption of the 10-point policy agenda for the country’s economic recovery is not an “exit plan” solely from the COVID-19 pandemic, but for the new normal, Malacañang said Thursday.

In a press statement, acting Presidential Spokesperson and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the policy agenda is part of the preparations for the shift to the “new normal”.

“We do not share the view that this is the current Administration’s exit plan, for this forms part of the country’s preparation to build resilience under the New Normal,” Andanar said.

Andanar issued the clarification after President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday signed Executive Order (EO) 166 directing all government departments and offices to adopt the 10-point policy agenda to hasten the recovery of the Philippine economy from the impact of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.

Under EO 166, all state departments, bureaus, offices, agencies, and instrumentalities, including government-owned or -controlled corporations and state universities and colleges, are mandated to ensure that all related policies, measures, and programs are aligned with the adopted policy agenda.

Andanar expressed optimism that EO 166 would also be implemented by the succeeding administrations.

This, as he likened the new EO to the current administration’s adoption of EO 168 which was signed by former President Benigno Aquino III in 2014 to create the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in the Philippines.

“Unless Executive Order No.166 is modified or revoked, it would remain effective and operational,” Andanar said.

EO 166 aims to sustain current economic gains, minimize the Covid-19 pandemic’s long-term adverse effects, and restore the country’s development trajectory.

It orders the government offices to strengthen healthcare capacity; accelerate and expand the vaccination program; further reopen the economy and expand public transport capacity; resume face-to-face learning; reduce restrictions on domestic travel and standardize local government units’ requirements; and relax requirements for international travel.

It also mandates the national government to accelerate digital transformation through legislative measures; provide for enhanced and flexible emergency measures through legislation; shift the focus of decision-making and government reporting to more useful and empowering metrics; and undertake medium-term preparation for pandemic resilience.

The Department of Health has classified all areas in the country as low risk for Covid-19.

From March 14 to 20, the country has reported around 3,572 new coronavirus infections. (PNA)

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