Salceda vows to refile bill for establishment of disease control agency

REELECTED Albay Rep. Jose Maria Clemente S. Salceda will refile a bill in the incoming 19th Congress for the creation of a center for disease control, citing such an institution’s role in pandemic preparedness.   

“I hope President (Ferdinand “Bongbong” R.) Marcos will also make it his priority, as PRRD (President Rodrigo R. Duterte) did,” Mr. Salceda said in a statement on Saturday.   

“It’s a waste, it was sponsored on the Senate floor, but there was not enough time in the 18th Congress,” he added. “So, I will refile it, and this time, we will hopefully be able to get it through Congress. Because the infections you want to deal with will not go away.” 

He cited the recent resurgence of monkeypox cases in several countries. As of June 9, around 1,300 cases have been identified worldwide.   

No monkeypox case has so far been detected in the Philippines.  

“These infections, whether mild or serious, will come to the Philippines… so you have to have the capacity to deal with it. You have to have the institutions, the surge capacity, the culture, and the resources to adapt,” he said.  

Under the bill, the proposed Center for Disease Control and Prevention will serve as an umbrella agency for existing infectious disease units. It will have expanded health emergency powers with staff trained to respond to “sudden-onset” diseases such as the coronavirus 2019.  

The 18th Congress adjourned sessions with the bill pending on second reading under special order at the Senate, while it was passed on third reading at the House of Representatives. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan 

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