House bill creating Center for Disease Prevention and Control refiled | Inquirer News

House bill creating Center for Disease Prevention and Control refiled

/ 05:46 AM July 12, 2022

Plenary of the House of Representatives. STORY: House bill creating Center for Disease Prevention and Control refiled

Plenary Hall of the House of Representatives. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines — A bill that would create the Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control is being pushed anew in the House of Representatives for the 19th Congress.

According to House Bill No. 9, the center would modernize the country’s response to public health emergencies — an aspect of the healthcare sector that was exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.


The bill was filed by Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin G. Romualdez and Tingog party-list Reps. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez, and Jude Acidre.


If the bill is enacted, the center would absorb several Department of Health (DOH) offices like the Epidemiology Bureau, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, and the Bureau of Quarantine,

The center will perform the following duties:

  • policy and standards development
  • capacity building and technical assistance
  • sectoral and local engagements
  • surveillance
  • technical guidance on the monitoring and evaluation framework for disease prevention and control
  • certification on the existence of an epidemic and a public health emergency

“This bill seeks to modernize the country’s capabilities for public health emergency preparedness and strengthen the current bureaucracy that is mandated to prevent the spread of communicable diseases in the country through organizational and institutional reforms,” the bill’s authors said in the explanatory note.

“The authors acknowledge the need to modernize and reorganize our health system to protect the public from health risks,” it added.

The country’s CDC will be headed by a director-general with the rank of undersecretary within DOH’s framework, similar to other DOH-attached agencies like the Food and Drug Administration.

The director-general would be assisted by two deputy director generals who are DOH assistant secretaries.  The posts would be appointed by the sitting president, choosing from at least three nominees submitted by the DOH secretary.


All three are required to have at least 10 years of experience in the fields of public health and epidemiology.

According to the bill, the CDC’s director-general would have the following powers:

  • manage and direct the activities and functions of the CDC
  • advise the DOH secretary on policy matters concerning the center’s activities
  • recommend to the president, through the DOH secretary, the exercise of special powers in case of an epidemic, including the declaration of a public health emergency
  • act as the national International Health Regulations Focal Point, subject to consultation with DOH
  • perform other functions and powers that may be assigned by the DOH secretary

“We hope that with the opening of the 19th Congress, this important measure will again be prioritized by our chamber, and finally be passed into law, so that the country will be better equipped should another pandemic hit us,” Romualdez said.

“We have learned our lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, and this measure will ensure our stronger response and preparedness to any public health emergency,” he added.

During the 18th Congress, there were several suggestions focusing on the creation of the country’s own CDC, especially with COVID-19 surges affecting the country.

In July 2021, the House approved on third reading a similar bill that sought the creation of the CDC and the Virology Institute of the Philippines.

The law was not passed by both chambers of Congress due to time constraints.

Prior to that, in May 2021, Sen. Christopher Go, who headed the Senate Committee on Health and Demographics, said the government needed to take a proactive approach in dealing with pandemics.


House OKs bill establishing PH Virology Institute, Center for Disease Prevention and Control

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Go pushes bill seeking creation of Center for Disease Control and Prevention


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