CDC bill pushed anew in House

Leyte First District Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

THE creation of the Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) is being proposed again in the 19th Congress.

The measure, House Bill (HB) 9, was filed by Leyte First District Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Tingog Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez and Tingog Rep. Jude Acidre.

“We hope that with the opening of the 19th Congress, this important measure will again be prioritized by our chamber and finally be passed into law so that the country will be better equipped should another pandemic hit us. We have learned our lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic, and this measure will ensure our stronger response and preparedness to any public health emergency,” Leyte Representative Romualdez said in a statement.

HB 9 seeks to create the CDC as an attached agency of the Department of Health (DoH) “for policy and program coordination.”

Under the proposal, the CDC will serve as “the technical authority on all matters regarding disease prevention and control.”

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If the bill is passed into law, these DoH units and their concerned divisions and functions will be transferred to the CDC; Epidemiology Bureau; Research Institute for Tropical Medicine; Sexually Transmitted Disease-Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Cooperative Central Laboratory; select functions of the International Health Surveillance Division of the Bureau of Quarantine (passive international health surveillance; and “[d]evelopment of communication methods for wider and more effective delivery of critical public health information with international importance”); and “[t]echnical and standard setting functions of the Disease Prevention and Control Bureau including that of the Mental Health Division, Cancer Division and Oral Health Division.”

Employees of these bureaus and affected offices will be absorbed by the CDC.

The bill also seeks to establish Regional Centers for Disease Prevention and Control in all regions.

In the 18th Congress, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading a bill that sought to create the Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

The 19th Congress will open session later this month.