Bong Go

Senate Health Committee seeks to improve awareness, prepare vs health threats — Bong Go

August 12, 2022 People's Journal 121 views

SENATOR and Chair of the Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go is seeking closer coordination among various government agencies and authorities to ensure that the country is better prepared against existing and emerging health threats particularly Monkeypox and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In an ambush interview after personally providing assistance to struggling residents in Taytay, Rizal on August 10, Go said that the Senate Health Committee is set to conduct a hearing on Monday, August 15, to evaluate the government’s preparedness to effectively suppress the spread of monkeypox and COVID-19.

“Sa darating na Lunes, bilang Committee Chair on Health, nagpatawag ako ng hearing ng organizational meeting, pagbubuo muna ng Committee on Health and then at the same time tatalakayin po namin ‘yung paghahanda ng gobyerno ukol sa monkeypox,” said Go.

The senator added that he will discuss with authorities other relevant concerns such as vaccines, disease surveillance, and information dissemination, among others.

“Tatanungin natin ang ating mga DOH (Department of Health) officials kung mayroon na bang nadidiskubre na mga bakuna at ano na ho bang paghahanda ang ginawa ng gobyerno,” said Go.

“Halimbawa ‘yung border control, ‘yung surveillance, at ipaintindi natin sa publiko paano po ba nahahawa nito, paano ba nakakahawa ito at paano po natin mapipigilang kumalat ito dahil nasa gitna pa tayo ng pandemya,” he added.

Go and fellow senator Robinhood “Robin” Padilla had earlier filed Senate Resolution No. 84 on August 1, directing the Health and Demography Committee to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the preparedness of the country to contain and suppress monkeypox which has been declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a public health emergency of international concern, with the end view of preventing the overburdening of the healthcare system.

The resolution was pushed following the detection of the first case of monkeypox in the country on July 29.

Go also underscored the need to intensify the country’s surveillance systems and further strengthen the healthcare system.

Meanwhile, Go said that he will likewise tackle in the upcoming hearing next week key updates on the government’s COVID-19 pandemic response, including reports on vaccine wastage.

“Pag-uusapan din natin ‘yung update po ng COVID response natin. Ilan na ho bang bakuna ang nagagamit, ilan na ho ba ang naituturok, at ilan na ho ba ang qualified at naituturok na mga booster shots,” said Go.

“Pag-uusapan rin natin ang sinasabi nilang nasasayang na mga bakuna na nag-expire. So lahat po ay pag-uusapan natin at handa po akong makinig bilang inyong Chairperson,” he added.

In a separate statement, Go said that he will ask the Executive Branch to “carefully assess the situation” and “study the need to further extend the state of calamity due to COVID-19” as new cases have been rising in the past days and weeks in many places in the country.

“Bilang chair ng Senate Health Committee, interes ko na masigurong ginagawa nating lahat sa gobyerno ang mga dapat gawin upang maprotektahan ang kalusugan at buhay ng mga Pilipino,” said Go.

Go also assured that he will support initiatives and policies that aim to protect the welfare of the Filipino people.

“Bilang mambabatas, handa akong suportahan ang anumang programa ng Ehekutibo hinggil dito dahil, para sa akin, una sa lahat ay ang proteksyunan ang buhay ng mga mamamayang Pilipino,” he added.

Previously, Go also called on relevant agencies to come up with strategies and measures to strengthen the capability of the country against future health crises.

He had earlier refiled his twin bills that will improve the country’s healthcare system to better respond to infectious diseases.

The lawmaker reintroduced Senate Bill No. 2158 which establishes the Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC will serve as the lead agency for developing communicable disease control and prevention initiatives.

Furthermore, Go refiled SBN 2155 which shall create the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP). The Institute shall be the principal laboratory for virology research and laboratory investigations as well as the lead technical coordinator of the nationwide network of virology laboratories.