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House OKs bills creating virology institute, center for disease control on final reading

As the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, the House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on third and final reading measures seeking to establish the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and a virology research institute in the Philippines.

Voting 198-0-0, the chamber approved House Bill 9559 or the “Virology Institute of the Philippines (VIP) Act.”

The proposed VIP will help the Philippines be prepared in case a pandemic hits the country again. It will serve as the premier research and development institute in the field of virology, encompassing all areas in viruses and viral diseases in humans, plants, and animals.

The VIP shall also act as a venue for scientists, both here and abroad, to work collaboratively to study viruses of agricultural, industrial, clinical, and environmental importance.

On the other hand, the chamber also approved House Bill 9560 or the “Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) Act" through a vote of 193-6-0.

The CDC will be focusing on fighting infectious diseases. This will be an independent agency combining the Department of Health’s Disease Prevention and Control Bureau and Epidemiology Bureau “giving it more powers and more resources.”

During his last State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte had urged Congress to pass the measures creating these entities dedicated to emerging and re-emerging diseases. -MDM, GMA News