House panel endorses medical reserve corps formation for pandemics, emergencies | Inquirer News
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House panel endorses medical reserve corps formation for pandemics, emergencies

/ 02:33 PM August 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The House committee on health has endorsed the formation of a medical reserve corps to augment the country’s health personnel in cases of pandemics and other health emergencies.

During the online hearing of the committee, Rep. Angelina Tan committee chair approved the creation of a technical working group tasked to consolidate at least eight bills related to the formation of a reserve national medical network.

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“Medical reservists are needed in times like this when we are going through a COVID-pandemic. They are also needed in case of disasters,” Tan, author of one of the bills, said in a statement Friday.

Under Tan’s version of the bill, the Department of Health (DOH) will be mandated to organize the reserve medical network, which will be composed of licensed physicians, including those retired, graduates of medicine, medical students who have completed four years of the medical course, registered nurses, and licensed allied health professionals.

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The bill states that the reserve group “shall be so organized, trained, developed, and maintained as to ensure its readiness to immediately respond to the call to service.”

Tan said the creation of a reserve medical corps will strengthen the national preparedness and response of the government to public health emergencies.

Further, the lawmaker pointed out that such measures would help healthcare workers who are exhausted amid the pandemic, saying that many hospitals in Metro Manila and other parts of the country are already short of medical staff.

“Many of our healthcare workers are exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally. They have to take a rest,” Tan said.

“This is one of the reasons why they called for a timeout three weeks ago. If we have a reserve force, they could temporarily take the place of tired health workers who have to take a break from toxic and risky work,” she added.

Other authors of related bills are Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte, Rep. Joy Myra Tambunting, Rep. Alfred Vargas, Rep. David Suarez, Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, Rep. Paul Daza, Rep. Estrellita Suansing, and Rep. Horacio Suansing.

Once the measure is approved at the committee level, it will be transmitted to the plenary floor for further debates. It still needs to be approved on second and third readings to completely hurdle the House.

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The Senate must also come up with its own version of the measure and approve it in its own chamber.

The approval of measure instituting the medical reserve corps was among the calls made by President Rodrigo Duterte in his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA).

/MUF

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TAGS: COVID-19, medical corps, pandemic
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