The House committee on appropriations has approved a bill that seeks the mandatory reporting and updating of notifiable diseases to the public.
In a statement, the committee said epidemics and other public health emergencies are "threats to public health and national security, which can undermine the social, economic, and political functions of the state."
The committee added that the initial funding for the bill will come from the Department of Health's 2017 budget.
"The state also recognizes the disease surveillance and response system of the DOH and its local counterparts as the first line of defense to epidemics and health events of public health concern that pose risk to public health and security," the statement read.
A notifiable disease is a "disease that by legal requirements, must be reported to the public health authorities," such as any disease outbreak, human avian influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and Meningococcal disease among others.
Under the bill, the DOH Epidemiology Bureau is required to regularly update and issue a list of notifiable health events of public health concern.
The bill prohibits non-cooperation of persons who have the notifiable disease, breach of privacy and confidentiality, tampering of records or intentionally providing misinformation, and non-performance of persons and entities that should report and/or respond to notifiable diseases.
Those who violate the bill will be fined P20,000 to P50,000 or imprisoned for up to six months, or both.