Press Release
July 2, 2020

Bong Go reiterates calls for the establishment of more quarantine facilities; welcomes House counterpart bill

Senator and chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go is once again calling for the establishment of quarantine facilities in every region of the country. The Senator urged fellow lawmakers to support Senate Bill No. 1529 or the "Mandatory Quarantine Facilities Act of 2020", filed by the Senator last May 13, 2020.

"[Kung] mayroon na tayong nakahandang pasilidad para sa ganitong mga krisis o sakuna, mas mabilis at mas mabisa nating mapoprotektahan ang kalusugan ng kapwa nating Pilipino. The proposed measure filed aims to address this need and establish quarantine facilities all throughout the country," he said during a public hearing.

"By isolating infected people in proper quarantine facilities, we will help prevent the further spread of any infectious disease," he further explained.

The bill will direct the Department of Health to identify locations in close coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways and local government units. The health department shall operate, supervise and manage the facilities, which in turn will be equipped with a competent medical staff, adequate food and clothing, among others.

Senator Go welcomed efforts by Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. to gather support for the counterpart bill, House Bill No. 7005 or the "Mandatory Quarantine Facilities Act of 2020", principally authored by the latter. The bill's explanatory note justifies the necessity of the establishment of quality quarantine facilities due to the "constant emergence of various highly contagious and seriously infectious kinds of illnesses, most especially with the recent outbreak of COVID-19."

On June 29, Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, and Kalinga Lone District Rep. Allen Jesse Mangaoang expressed support for the said measure. In a statement of support, Bataan 1st District Rep. Geraldine Roman described the measure as "long overdue". She added that had the system been implemented from the beginning, the country would have "avoided the over-saturation of returning OFWs in Metro Manila and the humongous delays they encountered." Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Precious Hipolito-Castelo and Muntinlupa Lone District Rep. Ruffy Biazon also voiced their support.

According to the World Health Organization, the quarantine of persons is the restriction of activities or separation of persons who are not ill but may have been exposed to an infectious disease, with the objective of monitoring their symptoms. Introducing quarantine measures early in an outbreak is vital to delaying the peak of an epidemic.

Meanwhile, Go earlier recommended additional actions be taken to improve the country's pandemic response. He filed SB No. 1226, also known as the DOH Hospital Bed Capacity and Service Capability Rationalization Act, which aims to provide a more efficient and systemic process to increasing the bed capacity and improving the service capability of public hospitals. Presently, DOH-run hospitals often lack appropriate infrastructure, adequate staffing, maintenance and operating resources which result in longer waiting times for patients and delays in their treatment.

"Under current regulations, a DOH hospital can only increase its bed capacity and improve its service capability through legislation," the Senator said. "Ayusin po natin ang proseso para matulungan ang ating mga kababayan na nangangailangang magpagamot. Kapag maayos ang kalusugan ng mga Pilipino, mas dadali ang pag-asenso ng bayan."

The Senator also filed SB No. 1528 which shall amend Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act. The bill aims to address the gaps and inefficient mechanisms in the country's disease surveillance system by mandating the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines to assist in contact tracing efforts.

The bill also directs the establishment of sub-national laboratories in all DOH regional hospitals as well as allows LGUs to set up their own laboratories and epidemiology and surveillance units.

"Kung mas rumami pa ang mga pasyente at tuluyang malampasan ang bilang ng mga pasyente na kayang alagaan ng ating mga health facilities, babagsak po ang ating healthcare system. Aksyunan na dapat ito," warned Go.

"Magbayanihan po tayo dahil kung ano po ang gagawin natin sa susunod na mga araw, kung paano po tayo magtutulungan na maiwasan ang pagkalat ng sakit, kung paano po natin mas maisasaayos ang ating health facilities -- ito po ang tanging makakapagsabi kung kailan tayo makakabalik muli sa normal na pamumuhay at tuluyang matapos ang krisis na dulot ng COVID-19," he added.

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