MANILA - A lawmaker is pushing for the creation of a new Philippines Center for Disease Control and Prevention would be country’s version of the United States’ CDC to address quick onset health hazards.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said the Philippine CDC will integrate the functions of health bureaus to address emerging diseases that can result to outbreaks.
"Haven't we learned that we should have at least a more permanent institutional approach to this rather than another task force? Every time it happens, we create a new task force," Salceda told ANC's Headstart.
Salceda said there is a need to raise the visibility of the Department of Health's Disease Prevention and Control Bureau, Epidemiology Bureau, the Bureau of Quarantine and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine particularly since Filipinos are more at risk.
He said the country is more exposed to health threats, noting the increase in alien workforce, mainly Chinese, plus foreign tourists and the millions of Filipinos overseas.
"Yung epidemic sa buong mundo mas dumadami, ferocious at mas mabilis. Mas exposed po tayong Pilipino dahil sa mas maraming bagay," he said.
"It is the nature of our current milieu na dapat we must be more prepared and the CDC is the institutional response and instrument for being prepared than others kasi we're more at risks than others," he added.
Salceda said he does not know yet when the local version of CDC will be passed in Congress.
"But right now it has currency because definitely wala nga tayong mga response units. 'Yung ating epidemiological surveillance hanggang surveillance lang. Basically, we need more than that. We need a national health emergency response unit to be well-trained and everything," he said.
On Wednesday, the DOH said there is no confirmed case yet of the 2019 nCoV in the Philippines. However, they are still monitoring 23 suspected cases of nCoV while 4 have already been discharged.
"Public authorities should not be compelled by that hysteria in the social media but rather may apat na tayong dinaanan kaya dapat mas prepared na dapat tayo ngayon," he said.
The 2019-nCOV, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has claimed at least 170 lives. China's National Health Commission said there were 7,711 confirmed cases as of the end of Wednesday, with an additional 12,167 suspected cases.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), according to the World Health Organization.