DOH pushes for passage of proposed bill on public health emergencies
The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday rallied for the passage of a proposed measure that will serve as the “basis” for the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic even after the expiry of the declaration of the state of calamity in the country.
The Philippines is currently under a state of calamity due to the coronavirus outbreak after President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos extended it until December 31, 2022.
“After the state of calamity, mayroon tayong sinubmit sa House of Representatives, itong Public Health Emergency for Emerging and Reemerging Disease bill,” DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters at a media conference in Cavite.
(After the state of calamity, we have submitted to the House the Public Health Emergency for Emerging and Reemerging Disease bill.)
“In this bill, you'll find the different components kung ano yung dapat na ginagawa natin na even wala tayong anchored na declaration of state of calamity, magagawa pa rin natin ang ginagawa natin. Like purchasing vaccines, implementing vaccination, doing response for health emergencies, giving benefits to our healthcare works,” said Vergeire.
(In this bill, you'll find the different components of what we’re doing even if we are not anchored on the declaration of a state of calamity. Like purchasing vaccines, implementing vaccination, responding to health emergencies, and giving benefits to our healthcare workers.)
“So whenever the state of calamity ends by the end of the year, if the law will be passed we don’t have to worry about anything because this replaces and this will become the basis of the different actions that we’ll do in terms of a public health emergency,” she added.
According to Vergeire, the DOH has presented the proposed measure before legislators and Marcos Jr. at the first-ever Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meeting in October, where the President tagged it as one of his administration’s priority measures.
“During this time of the meeting, the president specifically said these are priority bills. It has to be passed,” said the DOH official.
“We were able to explain to our legislators how important this is, especially we're all linked or tied to the state of calamity declaration. We have explained if we are set and if we are able to pass this bill, itong state of calamity, kahit wala yan, ‘we do not need to worry about the actions we are doing right now for the Covid response,” she said.
(We have explained if we are set and if we are able to pass this bill, the state of calamity, even without it, we do not need to worry about the actions we are doing right now for the Covid response.) — RSJ, GMA Integrated News