Kuya Bong optimistic on CDC establishment

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go is hopeful that the country’s healthcare system will be further strengthened with the inclusion of several of his proposed health measures in the list of bills being prioritized this year.

Among the six bills that the Senate and the House of Representatives agreed to prioritize this year — according to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on 10 October — include measures establishing the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines and a Medical Reserve Corps.

All three bills are also among the top measures filed by Go in the 18th Congress and refiled in the 19th Congress and were mentioned by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in his first State of the Nation Address as part of the administration’s priority legislations.

Go reiterated the importance of said measures to mitigate the risks posed by future pandemics by significantly improving the country’s capacity to rapidly respond to infectious diseases and other health threats.

“As the Covid-19 virus continues to threaten our health and safety, we should use this time to review the lessons we learned, reevaluate our capabilities, improve our efforts and consider new legislative solutions that will strengthen our response to future public health emergencies,” Go said.

The lawmaker — who also heads the Senate Committee on Health — stressed that the public should remain vigilant and focused on preventing a bigger outbreak in addition to addressing the urgent needs facing the people.

Go earlier refiled Senate Bill 2158, establishing the CDC which will serve as the lead agency for developing communicable disease control and prevention initiatives.

Some of its major functions will include investigating potential cases of public health emergency; enforcing regulations to prevent the spread of communicable diseases; procuring and distributing vaccines, antibiotics and other medical supplies; and working with other countries to improve disease prevention and control systems and practices.

He also reintroduced SB 2155 which will create the VIP to serve as the principal laboratory for virology research and laboratory investigations as well as the lead technical coordinator of the nationwide network of virology laboratories.

If passed into law, the VIP will accelerate the development of and expand access to new vaccines against diseases such as Covid-19 and ensure the country has sufficient emergency stockpile of vaccine doses.

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority recently said that it has actually already allocated a five-hectare land in New Clark City, Tarlac for the construction of the VIP.

Finally, Go’s SB 1180 seeks to establish a Medical Reserve Corps composed of a team of medical and health-related professionals who will help the government meet medical and healthcare needs during public health emergencies.

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