Jinggoy pushes creation of CDC

March 31, 2023 Camille P. Balagtas 244 views

COORDINATED efforts of government agencies will facilitate a “proactive response” to public health emergencies, Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada said on Friday as he underscored the importance of creating the proposed Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Ayaw man natin na maranasan uli ang pandemiya, hindi natin maikakaila na totoo namang puwedeng maulit ito at sa anumang hagupit ng krisis na dulot ng epidemiya o pandemiya, ang pagiging handa ang isa sa ating maaasahan na pansangga sa delubyong ito,” said Estrada, author of Senate Bill (SB) No. 679 or the proposed Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Act.

Although nationwide COVID-19 cases continue to drop, particularly in the National Capital Region (NCR), Estrada stressed that communicable and non-communicable diseases have remained serious threats to public health.

“The cure for these diseases and the continuous research on how to prevent them have been the priority of the government along with the synchronization and coordination of efforts of various government entities, which have been proven to be equally important in consideration of our experience from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the seasoned lawmaker pointed out.

Estrada said lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic response and crisis management were all considered in the crafting of the proposed measure.

“We intend to establish the Philippine CDC along with the restructuring of certain offices and services to ensure clear delineation of functions and effective coordination with one another to ensure maximum, fast, reliable, and efficient performance, most especially in health crises and emergency response,” the senator said.

Under the proposed measure, several existing offices and units will be restructured, including the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), which will be transferred from the Office of the Secretary of Health to the CDC.

Estrada’s SB 679 also proposed the establishment of four centers – Center for Health Statistics, Center for Surveillance and Epidemiology, Center for Health Evidence, and Center for Reference Laboratories – under the supervision and management of the CDC that will lead and coordinate all major functions, especially during public health emergencies and disasters.

The bill, which is among the legislative priority measures mentioned by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), is already scheduled for plenary deliberations in the Senate.