‘Invest more in our healthcare system,’ says Bong Go | Inquirer News

‘Invest more in our healthcare system,’ says Bong Go

By: - Contributor / @inquirerdotnet
/ 12:32 AM July 27, 2022

Christopher Go. STORY: ‘Invest more in our healthcare system,’ says Bong Go

Sen. Christopher Go (Photo from his office)

MANILA, Philippines —  “We should invest more in our healthcare system,” Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go said on Monday in an ambush interview during the first regular session of the 19th Congress.

He stressed the importance of improving the disease surveillance system noting that monkeypox, on top of the COVID-19 pandemic, had been declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global health emergency.


“We were hit by the pandemic. I remember we had a hearing in February [2020] when it was COVID-19 was reported in China. Our problem was it was able to get here. So we need to intensify our surveillance,” Go said, speaking in a mix of Filipino and English.


“With this monkeypox, let’s be stricter in our surveillance. Let’s not allow it to happen to us again that a disease would spread. So what happened to us [during the onset of COVID-19] was an eye opener. The more we should invest in our healthcare system,” he added.

No cases yet in PH

According to the Department of Health (DOH) there have been no confirmed monkeypox cases in the Philippines so far. But it reassured the public that it had already started coordinating with other concerned agencies to prepare against the virus ever since an increase in cases was reported globally.

WHO has issued temporary recommendations to countries that might be affected by the virus as there have been recent reports of monkeypox outbreaks in Europe, the United States, Australia, and Canada.

The monkeypox virus is part of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. Monkeypox symptoms were found to be identical to smallpox symptoms, according to experts. However, monkeypox is less contagious and less severe than smallpox.

Fever, rashes, and swollen lymph nodes are among the common symptoms. Human-to-human and animal-to-human transmissions are both possible.

Backing more healthcare initiatives

Meanwhile, as the 19th Congress officially opened, Go reaffirmed that he would continue to support and develop more initiatives that would focus on improving the healthcare system.


“As chair of Senate Committee on Health, I’m focused on strengthening and supporting the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., especially in relation to our healthcare system,” Go said.

“And let’s be prepared. Let’s be proactive. Let’s not allow ourselves again to rush because we don’t know what we’re doing. So it’s important to be prepared if there should be another pandemic,” he went on.

No more lockdowns

Go said he also supported the president’s stand on having no more lockdowns.

“Let’s just make sure that our healthcare system can support this. For me, the most important of all is the life of every Filipino,” he said.

The senator recently renewed his appeal for the enactment of his twin bills to further strengthen the country’s capacity to address threats of infectious diseases.

Among these measures is Senate Bill No. 2158, which seeks to establish the Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If signed into law, the CDC will be the lead agency for developing communicable disease control and prevention initiatives. It will also focus on controlling the spread of infectious diseases in the Philippines.

Its major functions will include the following:

  • investigating potential cases of public health emergency
  • enforcing regulations to prevent the spread of communicable diseases
  • procuring and distributing vaccines, antibiotics, and other medical supplies
  • working with other countries and international organizations to improve disease prevention and control systems and practices

Go also filed Senate Bill No. 2155, which seeks to establish the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP).

The facility will be the principal laboratory for virology research and laboratory investigations. It will also be the lead technical coordinator of a nationwide network of virology laboratories.

Under the bill, the VIP will boost the development and access to new vaccines against diseases such as COVID-19 to make certain that the country has sufficient supplies of emergency vaccine doses.

In his first State of the Nation Address on Monday, Marcos also vowed to establish the Philippines’ own CDC and virology institute.

“I’m happy that the priorities he mentioned are also part of the bills that I filed in the Senate,” Go said.


WHO declares global health emergency over monkeypox outbreak

PH still monkeypox-free amid WHO global alert

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Gov’t is prepared for monkeypox outbreak – DOH


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