Marcos certifies as urgent Senate bill creating PH's center for disease control

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 23) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. certified as urgent a Senate bill that will allow the establishment of a center for disease control and prevention in the country, a lawmaker said.

In a statement, House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda said Senate Bill No. 1869, the Senate version of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) bill, got a push from Marcos as the latter's certification would allow the Senate to discuss it in plenary and approve it on third reading on the same day.

The measure is the Senate version of House Bill No. 6096 filed by Salceda in January 2020. He refiled it as House Bill No. 46 during the 19th Congress.

Salceda thanked Marcos, saying the measure is vital to protecting Filipinos from pandemics.

"Pandemics are now cyclical and our preparedness must be permanent," he said in a statement.

"My initial version contained several health emergency provisions that were written in anticipation of necessary lockdowns, quarantines, and continued disease surveillance. Of course, legislation is compromised so that bill evolved through the different stages, and is more institutional than a matter of broader health emergency powers," he added.

The CDC, he said, would be "much better" than the "very ad-hoc nature of the RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine)."

"It got stuck last time due to some fundamental disagreements on the structure of the institution. But now that the Presidential imprimatur is clear and undeniable, I am almost certain President Marcos will have the law on his desk right before his first SONA (State of the Nation Address)," he said.