House OKs bill establishing PH Virology Institute, Center for Disease Prevention and Control
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives approved Wednesday the bill creating the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP) and the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.
With 198 affirmative votes, no negative, and no abstention, the lower chamber approved on final reading House Bill No. 9559 or the Virology Institute of the Philippines (VIP) Act.
Meanwhile, the lower chamber approved House Bill 9560 or the Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) Act with 193 affirmative votes, six negative votes, and no abstention.
President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned both measures in his final State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Under the measure, the VIP will be an attached agency of the Department of Science. It will be “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 is mandated to implement policies, plans, programs, and projects to develop virology science and technology in the country and promote scientific and technological activities for both the public and private sectors.
The VIP shall also serve as the lead convener for formulating the National Virology Research Agenda that will encompass research involving viruses of plant, animal, and humans.
The measure likewise mandates the VIP to provide laboratory and technical services on virology and conduct product research and development in diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.
Center for Disease Prevention and Control
The CDC, meanwhile, will be an attached agency to the Department of Health and is mandated to develop and implement communicable disease prevention and control initiatives.
CDC shall develop, implement, and maintain an integrated surveillance system of diseases, injuries, and disabilities and shall provide technical guidance on the procurement of vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics, among others.
It shall also certify the existence of an epidemic that shall be treated as a public health emergency.
The CDC shall recommend to the President, through the DOH Secretary, the declaration of a state of public health emergency in case of an epidemic of national or international concern.
The measure also transfers several DOH units to the CDC, such as the epidemiology bureau, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, units on sexually transmitted diseases.
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