On November 11, 2013, in the wake of the destruction caused by Typhoon Yolanda President Benigno S. Aquino III declared a State of National Calamity. Learn more about what this means.

I. Definition and History

Section 3 of Republic Act 10121, known as the “Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010,” defines a State of Calamity as “a condition involving mass casualty and/or major damages to property, disruption of means of livelihoods, roads and normal way of life of people in the affected areas as a result of the occurrence of natural or human-induced hazard.”

Prior to 2013, the last time a State of National Calamity was declared was on December 7, 2012 by virtue of Proclamation No. 522 signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III in the wake of the devastation caused by typhoon Pablo in Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, and Davao del Norte in Region XI; Surigao del Sur in CARAGA Region; Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro City in Region X; Siquijor in Region VII; and, Palawan in Region IV-B.

A year before, a State of National Calamity was declared on December 20, 2011, by virtue of Proclamation No. 303, signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III in the wake of the devastation caused by tropical storm Sendong in Regions VII, IX, X, XI, and the CARAGA.

Prior to this, the Philippines was last put under a State of National Calamity through Proclamation 1898{{1}} on October 2, 2009 after the onslaught of typhoon Ondoy and during the rage of typhoon Pepeng. According to a spokesperson of then President Arroyo, the purpose of the declaration was to make the calamity funds available for the local governments and control the prices of basic commodities.

It is common practice for the local government in a disaster-stricken area to declare its own “State of Calamity.” In 2011, the local government of Negros Oriental declared Dumaguete City and Valencia under a State of Calamity on December 18, 2011, after the onslaught of Sendong. During the floods caused by monsoon rains on August of 2012 several areas in the National Capital Region and Region IV were placed under a State of Calamity.

II. Declaration

  • RA 10121, Section 16: “Declaration of State of Calamity – The National Council shall recommend to the President of the Philippines the declaration of a cluster of barangays, municipalities, cities, provinces, and regions under a state of calamity, and the lifting thereof, based on the criteria set by the National Council. The President’s declaration may warrant international humanitarian assistance as deemed necessary.”

  • “The declaration and lifting of the state of calamity may also be issued by the local sanggunian, upon the recommendation of the LDRRMC, based on the results of the damage assessment and needs analysis.” If a State of Calamity is declared by the National Government the following will be implemented: appropriation for calamity funds; Price freeze for basic necessities;{{2}} and the granting of no-interest loans.

  • A State of National Calamity when declared will remain until lifted by the President.

III. Effects

A. Price Control for Basic Necessities{{3}} and Prime Commodities{{4}}

  • RA 7581, Section 6(1): “Price freeze for basic necessities is implemented for 60 days unless lifted. …. Prices of basic necessities in areas under a state of calamity shall automatically be frozen at their prevailing prices or placed under automatic price control whenever.”

  • RA 10121 Section 17(a): “Imposition of price ceiling on basic necessities and prime commodities by the President upon the recommendation of the implementing agency as provided for under Republic Act No. 7581, otherwise known as the ‘Price Act,’ or the National Price Coordinating Council.”

  • RA 10121 Section 17(b): “Monitoring, prevention and control by the Local Price Coordination Council of overpricing/profiteering and hoarding of prime commodities, medicines and petroleum products.”

B. Granting of No-Interest Loans

  • RA 10121 Section 17(d): “Granting of no-interest loans by government financing or lending institutions to the most affected section of the population through their cooperatives or people’s organizations.”

Click on this link to learn how to apply for a Calamity Loan

C. Appropriation for Calamity Funds

  • RA 10121 Section 17(c): “Programming/reprogramming of funds for the repair and safety upgrading of public infrastructures and facilities.”

  • RA 7160: “Automatic appropriation is available for unforeseen expenditures arising from the occurrence of calamities in areas declared to be in a state of calamity.”

  • RA 7160: “Local government units may enact a supplemental budget for supplies and materials or payment of services to prevent danger to or loss of life or property.”

    • Section 321: “A supplemental budget may also be enacted in times of public calamity by way of budgetary realignment to set aside appropriations for the purchase of supplies and materials or the payment of services which are exceptionally urgent or absolutely indispensable to prevent imminent danger to, or loss of, life or property, in the jurisdiction of the local government unit or in other areas declared by the President in a state of calamity.”
    • Section 324(d): “Five percent (5%) of the estimated revenue from regular sources shall be set aside as an annual lump sum appropriation for unforeseen expenditures arising from the occurrence of calamities: Provided, however, that such appropriation shall be used only in the area, or a portion thereof, of the local government unit or other areas declared by the President in a state of calamity.”

D. Importations and foreign donations

  • RA 10121 Section 18 (a): “The importation and donation of food, clothing, medicine and equipment for relief and recovery and other disaster management and recovery-related supplies is hereby authorized in accordance with Section 105 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, as amended, and the prevailing provisions of the General Appropriations Act covering national internal revenue taxes and import duties of national and local government agencies”
  • RA 10121 Section 18 (b): “Importations and donations under this section shall be considered as importation by and/or donation to the NDRRMC, subject to the approval of the Office of the President.”

E. Others

  • Authorization for the importation of rice under Section 6 of RA 8178, the Agricultural Tariffication Act;

  • Entitlement to hazard allowance for Public Health Workers (under Section 21 of RA 7305, Magna Carta for Public Health Workers).

  • Entitlement to hazard allowance for science and technological personnel of the government under Section 7-c of RA 8439.


[[1]] Previously, Proclamations 1898, s. 2009 and 1185, s. 2006 declared the Philippines under State of National Calamity.[[1]]

[[2]] When a State of National Calamity was declared in December 2011 during the onslaught of Sendong, this was implemented only in the affected areas (Regions VII, IX, X, XI, and CARAGA) as specified in Proc. No. 303, s. 2011.[[2]]

[[3]] List of basic necessities per RA 7581 Sec. 3 (1) (Price freeze): Rice; corn; bread; fresh, dried and canned fish and other marine products, fresh pork, beef and poultry meal; fresh eggs; fresh and processed milk; fresh vegetables; root crops; coffee; sugar; cooking oil; salt; laundry soap; detergents; firewood; charcoal; candles; and drugs classified as essential by the Department of Health.[[3]]

[[4]] List of prime commodities: RA 7581 Sec. 3(8) (Price watch/ceiling control): Fresh fruits; flour;  dried processed and canned pork;  beef and poultry meat;  dairy products not falling under basic necessities;  noodles;  onions; garlic; vinegar;  patis;  soy sauce; toilet soap;  fertilizer;  pesticides; herbicides; poultry;  swine and cattle feeds; veterinary products for poultry,  swine and cattle;  paper; school supplies; nipa shingles; sawali; cement; clinker; GI sheets; hollow blocks; plywood; plyboard; construction nails; batteries; electrical supplies; light bulbs; steel wire; and all drugs not classified as essential drugs by the Department of Health.[[4]]