Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has included in the list of legislative priorities of the House of Representatives the bill proposing to establish the Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
Cayetano underscored the importance of passing the measure as the country faces the possibility of more health risks and public health emergencies in the future.
Authored by Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, the proposal is contained in House Bill 6096 to be known as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Act of 2020 or the CDC Act of 2020.
In urging House colleagues to support the swift passage of the measure, Cayetano stressed the need to step up efforts and become more pro-active and decisive in implementing the communicable disease control and prevention initiatives even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to adversely affect the lives of Filipinos.
Under the bill, the proposed PCDPC will be an agency to be attached with the Department of Health.
If enacted into law, HB No. 6096 would make the country better prepared for “sudden onset health emergencies” or those emergencies whose risk exponential increases over time.
“The tremendous work that Rep. Salceda has put into it during this time of grave crisis for the nation cannot be overstated,” said Cayetano.
“Not just in this initiative for a Center for Disease Control and Prevention, but also in trying to get our economy back on its feet. Something that he has been doing, not just during this administration, but in past presidencies as well,” he explained.
Cayetano issued the call for the swift passage of HB 6096 a few days after President Duterte, in his fifth State of the Nation Address, called on Congress to pursue the bill.
Citing the lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis, Cayetano noted the importance of a specialized agency that will be dedicated entirely on the surveillance, prevention, and control of emerging and re-emerging diseases.
He also said the House will continue to seek increased funding for health research and improve capacity of health facilities and laboratories in the country, especially in rural areas, to attend to the needs of the Filipino people.