Jinggoy sees smooth passage in Senate of proposed national CDC and virology institute

SENATOR Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada says the Senate’s prioritization of the proposed creations of the disease control and virology institutes will set in motion deliberations on the bills that seek to improve the country’s healthcare system and prepare it for future health crises. 

“The groundswell of support for these two measures is a welcome development. It’s more than enough to ensure the smooth and swift passage of these bills,” Estrada said. 

The senator was reacting to the inclusion of his proposed Senate Bill No. 679, or the Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Act, and Senate Bill No. 281, or the Virology Institute of the Philippines (VIP) Act, in the chamber’s priority legislation as recently announced by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri. 

The two bills are gaining support from among the senators, Zubiri has said. 

“Ipinamulat sa atin ng pandemyang dulot ng COVID-19 ang malaking kakulangan ng health services ng gobyerno, pati na rin sa strategic support para tugunan o maibsan ang epekto nito sa pampublikong kalusugan. Umaasa tayo na maipapasa at maisasabatas ang dalawang panukalang ito sa ilalim ng 19th Congress,” Estrada said. 

SB 281, which is among Estrada’s priority bills, seeks to provide the legal framework for the establishment of a government body that will conduct extensive studies on viruses and their potential disease-causing agent which can be used to provide scientific bases for the treatment of viral diseases. 

The proposed VIP is envisioned to be the country’s foundation of research and innovation on human, animal, and plant viruses in the next 10 to 15 years and will focus on the development of locally-made vaccines. The Institute will complement the current efforts of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on research and creation of vaccines, Estrada said.  

On the other hand, the proposed creation of the Philippine CDC under SB 679 seeks to ensure the clear delineation of tasks between existing agencies and maximize current mandates. 

The Philippine CDC shall be under the Office of the secretary of the Department of Health (DOH) and will be headed by a director general. Attached to it will be the Center for Health Statistics, Center for Surveillance and Epidemiology, Center for Health Evidence and the Center for Reference Laboratories. 

Also under the proposed measure, several existing offices and units, including the RITM, will be restructured to ensure a clear delineation of functions and effective coordination,  which will be transferred from the DOH to the CDC. 

 

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