AMID the challenges brought by the pandemic and threats posed by future health crises, Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go called for the passage of Senate Bill No. 2505, a consolidated measure of a bill he authored and filed in May last year, which seeks to establish the Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In a speech inserted into the records on Wednesday, February 2, Go said that one of his priorities is to make the country’s health system better prepared to respond to future health crises.
“This is the reason why we have already passed 24 laws for the upgrade and establishment of health facilities in the country. We also just passed on third reading 15 additional measures which will further add to the improvement of our health facilities,” Go noted, adding that this thrust also prompted him to file the bill which will establish the Philippine CDC.
The CDC is envisioned to be the lead agency for developing communicable disease control and prevention initiatives. It will be primarily responsible for controlling the introduction and spread of infectious diseases in the country.
Go went on to thank his fellow senator Pia Cayetano, Chairperson of the Subcommittee under the Committee on Health, for also championing this proposed measure.
“It is very fitting that the one spearheading this is also the Chair of the Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, Innovation, and Futures Thinking,” he said.
Noting that the global outbreak of COVID-19 sparked the need to have a more comprehensive approach and multi-disciplinary preparedness for the emergence and re-emergence of pandemic and epidemic diseases, Go said that in other countries, Centers for Disease Control have been instrumental in the fight against the virus.
“As experts in the field of infectious diseases, they are at the forefront of the health battle against COVID-19. It is high time for us to have our own CDC,” the senator pointed out.
He noted that President Rodrigo Duterte had also acknowledged the need to establish such center, and even earlier urged Congress to pass a measure providing the same.
“Ang polisiya po ng Administrasyong Duterte dapat one-step ahead tayo. Hindi po pwede na hindi tayo handa kung mayroong paparating na mga kalamidad, sakuna o emergency. Sa bawat oras na nagkulang po tayo sa paghahanda, maaaring buhay po ang kapalit,” Go stressed.
“Alam naman po natin na hindi natin masasabi kung mayroon pang pandemyang darating sa ating buhay. Kailangan nating maging proactive,” he added.
Some of the primary functions of the proposed Philippine CDC include policy and standards development, disease detection and surveillance, data collection and analytics, public health communications, and research and evidence synthesis.
“Ang Philippine CDC ang magiging pangunahing ahensya ng gobyerno na magpapatupad ng mga disease control and prevention measures,” Go said.
With the establishment of our CDC, the senator expressed confidence that the country will be better equipped to deal with any public health emergency in the future.
“It is for these reasons that I ask for this chamber’s support for the approval of this measure,” Go ended.
Aside from the measure, Go also filed SB 2155 which will establish the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines. The institute shall serve as the country’s principal laboratory for virology research, laboratory investigations, and technical coordination of the nationwide network of virology laboratories.