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Bill creating Philippines own CDC gets House nod

Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - March 5, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives has approved a measure that seeks to establish a Philippine version of the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to better handle infectious illnesses such as COVID-19.

House Bill 6096, providing for the country’s own CDC, gained the nod of the House committee on health headed by Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan.

The bill was authored by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda.

“It’s like preparing for the Olympics. You do decades of work and practice for the day when an emergency comes, except, unlike the Olympics, you don’t know when that day will be,” Salceda said.

He said addressing a health crisis would require a framework that is not buried in the Department of Health bureaucracy “to work full time in preparing the country for future pandemics.”

Salceda filed the measure last year in anticipation of the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

“I came up with this proposal after studying international best practices, most notably those in China, Australia and the United States. This bill contextualizes these practices in the Philippine situation,” he said.

Tan thanked the leadership of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco for supporting the measure.

“This seeks to modernize the country’s capabilities for public health emergency preparedness and strengthen the bureaucracy that is mandated to address communicable diseases through organizational and institutional reforms,” she said.

Tan emphasized the two essential initiatives in preparing for public health emergencies: health modernization and institutional reforms.

Once created, the CDC will be a separate agency supervised by the Health Emergency Coordinating Council, chaired by the health secretary.

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