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Salceda sees coming passage of CDC bill as Senate health panel begins hearings

May 7th, 2021

Salceda sees coming passage of CDC bill as Senate health panel begins hearings; principal author of House version wants stronger emergency measures in bill

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) says that he anticipates the enactment into law of House Bill No. 6096 or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Act, a priority legislation in the 2020 State of the Nation Address of President Duterte, as the Senate began its hearings on the bill this week.

“Now that the Senate version is being discussed in their Committee on Health, I expect that the law will move very quickly, especially considering the relationship of the Senate Health chair, Sen. Go, with President Duterte,” Salceda said.

The Department of Health (DOH) also recently reiterated its support for the bill recently, during a press conference.

Salceda was the first author of the base version of the bill, which he filed on January 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic spread in the Philippines.

The Senate began its hearings on the CDC bill on May 6, 2021.

Focus on emergencies, infectious diseases crucial

Salceda reminded both the Senate and the House, however, not to make the CDC too bureaucratic and to ensure that it is capable of responding to what he calls “sudden-onset” health emergencies, or emergencies that have the potential to break out and spread very quickly.

“Focus on infectious diseases

Salceda also asked the Committee to focus the CDC’s mandate on fighting infectious diseases.

In a manifestation to the Committee, Salceda said that his bill “insists on decisive response at the precommunicable stage, including the apprehension of precommunicable individuals if needed, because this is where outbreaks can be prevented. The successful fight of Vietnam against COVID-19 centered on this particular strategy of hard and early isolation of the infected few over the diffuse and soft isolation of the suspected many. This author’s proposal and its copies refiled by colleagues is the only one among the different versions that insists on this distinction.”

Salceda also asked the committee to ensure that the agency does not become “too large against its own good.”

“If the CDC is too large to include non-communicable diseases, we believe that it will be bogged down by the same bureaucratic issues that led us to creating this agency in the first place,” Salceda warned.

Salceda says that he hopes the House will move the measure through the plenary as soon as it resumes session on May 17.

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