MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned in his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday (July 26) that a bill to establish Philippine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a health bill for the creation of a Virology Institute will be passed in Congress.
The Chief Executive believes in the capability of experts to create our own medicines and drugs against viruses and diseases.
But he was not able to mention the emergency funds and benefits that could further suffice the needs of medical frontliners.
The Department of Health (DOH) was expecting that the president would mention the extension of COVID-19 emergency funds like having Bayanihan 3.
On the other hand, President Duterte did not forget to express his gratitude to all medical frontliners who are continuously sacrificing for the country’s COVID-19 response.
Since the pandemic began, there are more than 21,000 medical frontliners who got infected with COVID-19.
Most of them recovered but more than 100 of them succumbed to the disease.
Meanwhile, the Health Department is really hopeful for the passage of three health bills before Duterte’s term ends.
Like what chief executive said, one is the establishment of a Philippine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Philippine CDC).
One of its components is the creation of virology institute
“Katulad ng sinabi ko sa inyo noong isang linggo, we have the Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control Bill. Ito yung naglalayong magkaroon tayo ng highly technical institution kung saan researches, surveillance, laboratories, ay maintegrate natin sa isa kasama po ang mga eksperto na tutulungan tayo for this institution para mas magkaroon tayo ng proactive response during times of public health emergencies,” explained Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
Also , the DOH expects the passage of a Medical Reserve Corps Bill.
“We also have the Medical Reserve Corps Bill, kung saan ito yung act providing for the development administration, organization, training, maintenance, and utilization of Medical Reserve Corps,” Vergeire noted.
“This is also in relation to what happened to us dito po sa pandemyang ito. The third health bill is the Health Security Bill. This will strengthen the Philippine health security, emergency preparedness, readiness and response of the country in times of health crisis,” she added.
President Duterte said the government is trying all its best to respond to the needs of Filipino saying: “Bahay muna, bago ang lahat.”
He reported that during his term, although not perfect, testing capacity, hospital beds, facility and isolation beds have increased.
Mega and modular quarantine facilities were also established in over a year’s time.
Likewise, with the limited COVID-19 vaccine supply that the country has, 17 million Filipinos have received their first dose; 36 million doses of vaccines are expected to arrive, with over 30 million already administered to the priority sector.
He also said, the country can no longer afford another lockdown but with the threat of Delta variant, if it is already needed he would not hesitate to decide to prevent the spread of more transmissible and deadlier COVID-19 variants of concern like the Delta variant. -MNP (with details from Aiko Miguel)