Cayetano pushes for creation of PH’s Center for Disease Control

Senator Pia Cayetano has called on lawmakers to support the passage of the measure that seeks the establishment of the Philippines’ own Center for Disease Control.

During the Senate’s hybrid plenary session on Wednesday, Cayetano said it is imperative that the country establishes its own agency that would “act as the technical authority on forecasting, preventing, controlling, and monitoring communicable and non-communicable diseases in the country.”

“If there’s one lesson we learned from this (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s the importance of being more prepared for other future crises, including the possibility of another pandemic,” Cayetano said during her sponsorship of Senate Bill No. 2505 or the proposed “Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Act.”

“During those two years, we have realized the importance of strengthening our healthcare system, to protect Filipino familieis from existing and emerging health emergencies that pose as a threat to their lives,” Cayetano added.

The senator said even the Center for Global Development forecasted that there is a 47-57 percent chance of another global pandemic as deadly as COVID happening in the next 25 years.

She said passage of the bill into law would help the government adopt a framework that fosters a whole-of-system, whole-of-government, and whole-of-society approach that would streamline science-based decision-making, especially during public health emergencies.

Under the bill, the proposed CDC shall have different established centers that shall lead and coordinate major functions, namely: The Center for Health Statistics; the Center for Surveillance and Epidemiology, The Center for Health Evidence, and the Center for Reference Laboratories.

The lawmaker said these centers shall be created through the harmonization of functions and reorganization of the existing offices and units within the Department of Health (DOH).

“Globally, nations are scrambling for solutions to end the pandemic and defeat the virus. But COVID is not the only health threat out there,” she pointed out.

“As the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, Innovation, and Futures Thinking, it’s my duty to ensure that we are on track with our targets under the SDGs, including SDG 3 on Good Health and Well-being. One of the targets under SDG 3 is to strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction, and management of national and global health risks,” she explained.

“Now more than ever, we need to invest in our healthcare system to prepare us better for other possible health emergencies, and to help us build a more sustainable future beyond COVID-19,” Cayetano reiterated.