To improve the country’s response to national health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic, a bill proposing the creation of a Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has been introduced in the Senate plenary on Wednesday (February 2). 

The new measure, also known as Senate Bill 2505 or the Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Act, was sponsored by Senator Pia Cayetano. 

Under the proposed bill, the CDC will be set up under the Department of Health (DOH). It will act as the primary, technical authority when it comes to forecasting, preventing, controlling, and monitoring communicable and non-communicable diseases in the Philippines. 

CDC will adopt a structure that will foster a whole-of-system, whole-of-government, and a whole-of-society approach to streamline science-based decision-making. 

Once established, the CDC will form the following centers – each having its own function: 

  • Center for Health Statistics
  • Center for Surveillance and Epidemiology
  • Center for Health Evidence, and
  • Center for Reference Laboratories

The said centers will take shape by repurposing and reorganizing existing offices and units within the DOH.

According to Cayetano, it’s vital that such an institute be established in the Philippines as another large-scale health emergency like COVID-19 could hit once again in just two decades. 

“It’s been two years since the country recorded its first COVID-19 case… If there’s one lesson we learned from this pandemic, it’s the importance of being more prepared for other future crises, including the possibility of another pandemic,” she explained. 

Cayetano referred to data from the Center for Global Development, which revealed that there is a 47–57% chance of another pandemic as deadly as coronavirus occurring in the next 25 years.

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