May 19th, 2023
House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd District) says that foreign partners of the Philippines, including foreign governments and multilateral agencies, are “just waiting for the Senate to approve the charter of the Center for Disease Control so that they could set up technical assistance grants for its creation,” adding that “there’s plenty of goodwill and excitement around it among global health partners.”
“The Department of Health has been talking to the governments of the US and New Zealand. I’ve also talked to our colleagues in the multilateral banks and development agencies. They just want certainty that it’s going to pass this time,” Salceda, principal author of the measure, added.
Salceda pointed out that President Marcos has already certified its Senate version as urgent and was received on May 8. The bill, however, is still pending interpellation in the chamber.
“I hope they finish it before sine die adjournment. That would be the second major legislative achievement of President Marcos among his SONA priorities after the New Agrarian Emancipation Act,” Salceda emphasized.
Salceda also pointed out that the US CDC has already set up a Manila office that is “prepared to help the Philippines every step of the way.”
“All these agencies really need is the approval of the Senate version, because they were prepared to give support last Congress. Unfortunately because the Senate version didn’t pass the last time, the grant funds would have gone to waste. So, they need more certainty this time around.”
“It’s certainly wasting so much goodwill if we don’t get this bill done. Besides, the 2023 GAA already enshrines the setting up of a CDC as policy. And OIC Vergeire has also made it a priority and a key talking point in talks with foreign partners.”
“The next pandemic is always just around the corner. We already have one of the major tools and consensus around getting it done.”
“We in the House like the Senate Committee Report already. We just hope it gets through before SONA to give PBBM another major accomplishment. Sayang ang 59 percent mandate if we don’t get work faster on his priorities.”