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In yesterday’s committee hearing, two important proposed bills were discussed by the committee. The substitute bill for HB 4013- A Free Annual Check-Up for the Filipino and several proposals for the creation The Philippine Center For Disease Control and Prevention. The committee headed by Rep. Angelina Tan carefully deliberated the nature of all these proposals.

I. The message of the Chairperson:

Rep. Angelina Tan recognized that we are ushering in a new period. Globalization is a “Double Edge” effect that may breed a higher chance of pandemic in the near future. Covid-19 causes devastating effects both economically and globally. The chairman of the committee urged to develop science enterprises and strengthen data and analytics to outbreak responses. The establishment for disease and prevention control must be a scientific and data-driven service in nature. The data must be historical, real-time, and most important predictive.

The chairman also calls for the building of the State of the Art Laboratories.

II. Rep. Michael Defensor’s sponsorship speech for HB 4013 – Free Annual Check-up for the Filipino

Defensor of Anak-Kalusugan Partylist reiterates that Preventive Care is an important aspect of Primary Health Care. Preventive Care includes physical and diagnostic tests and Laboratory care (Urinary, blood count and other related). Defensor for the meantime suggested that the mandatory check-up be limited to blood, sugar and total cholesterol testing while the rest now depends on the PhilHealth existing capability.

According to Rep. Defensor, Heart disease is the leading death cause in the Philippine while 46.9% has borderline cholesterol. The Philippines also ranks 5th in the diabetes cases around the Globe.

III. ACT Party-list’s Hon. France Castro’s Concerns

Rep. France Castro raised her concern about target population and specification of implementation of the said proposal. Castro said that is one of her advocacy especially the health care system for the teachers since many of those in educational institutions are affected by Diabetes and Respiratory Problems.

Castro wanted to ensure that the said proposal will not be prone to abuses just like the current Modus Operandi of deception and overpricing that besets the health care institutions of the country.

IV. Hon. Deloso Montalla’s Sponsorship Speech on HB 6655

Representative Montallla urged Congress that it is high time to change the approach in addressing the health crisis like what we are experiencing today. It is time to make a comprehensive approach not just piecemeal legislation to holistically address the problem.

Globalization paves the way for the spread of the disease. This pandemic highlights the flaws of our system. The fragmented nature of financing and devolution of service delivery can be attributed to the inefficiency of the services. Montella highlights the failure of the system. The recent rises in the case of HIV, Dengue and reemergence of Polio are some of the tangible observations that the system is not working properly.

The pandemic has closely magnified the preexisting condition of the peripheries. Montalla believes that public education and an increase in state of the art laboratories are important to combat the epidemic. It must harmonize with the masterplan of the Department of Health including manpower planning and appropriate management of disease and pandemic through cease and control institutions.

The Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Angelina Tan emphasized the importance of organizational, institutional reforms and health modernization. Tan calls for the reform Public health services modernization program of the government.

V. The Position of DOH

DOH- USEC Myrna Cabotaje supports the intention of the proposed measures but advises that it must be anchored on evidence-based strategy, state of the art clinics and lab, continuous research and development, manpower, coordination with public health.

The DOH recommends for the “Whole Society Approach” and strengthening local response capacity and implementation. The proposed CDC must align with the current universal healthcare act and structure and staffing mechanisms must improve.

The DOH also recommends the National reference laboratory under one group.

Centralizing the coordinating office with all laboratories and strengthening surveillance and data management is crucial for the success of this proposed CDC.###

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