MANILA, Philippines- Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada expects the immediate deliberation in the Senate of bills that will adjust the country’s healthcare system and lay out preparedness for future health crises after announcing their inclusion in the Senate’s priority bills.
“The growing support for the two bills is a good indication that they will become full law. We can be sure that they will pass smoothly and quickly,” said Estrada.
This statement by the senator is related to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri’s assurance in giving priority to the upper house in Senate Bill No. 679, or the proposed Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Act, and Senate Bill No. 281, or the proposed Virology Institute of the Philippines (VIP) Act that was also filed by Estrada.
According to Zubiri himself, such bills are already gathering support from their fellow senators.
“The pandemic caused by COVID-19 has made us aware of the great lack of government health services, as well as strategic support to address or mitigate its impact on public health. We hope that these two proposals will be passed and enacted under the 19th Congress,” Estrada said.
SB 281, which is among Estrada’s list of priority bills, seeks to lay the legal framework for the establishment of a government agency that can provide scientific bases for the treatment of infectious diseases based on extensive studies. on viruses and their potential disease-causing agents.
The VIP proposal will spearhead the country’s research and innovation from human, animal and plant viruses over the next 10 to 15 years and will focus on the discovery of locally produced vaccines. The Institute aims to be a partner of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in the research and creation of vaccines, the senator said.
Meanwhile, the proposed establishment of the Philippine CDC under SB 679 aims to define tasks among existing agencies and maximize their current mandates, Estrada said.
The Philippine CDC will be under the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Health (DOH) and headed by a director general. Under this there will be a Center for Health Statistics, Center for Surveillance and Epidemiology, Center for Health Evidence and Center for Reference laboratories.
In the said bill, some of the existing offices and units of the government, including the RITM, will be restructured to ensure a clear description of duties and effective coordination that will be transferred from the DOH and placed under the supervision of the CDC. Ernie Reyes
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