Press Release
December 11, 2023

Bong Go reminds DOH to prepare for escalating flu-like cases

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health, emphasized the urgency of preparing for and addressing a reported increase in flu-like cases in the Philippines. This reminder came amid concerns about the increasing respiratory illnesses in other regions since mid-October, particularly among children.

Go, in an interview on Thursday, December 8, after aiding residents in Pamplona, Cagayan, expressed his support for a possible inquiry into the government's preparedness in handling increasing influenza cases.

"Ako, pabor po ako dito. I am willing to call for a hearing dito para mapakinggan natin yung preparedness ng ating gobyerno, ng Department of Health (DOH) regarding the rising cases of influenza and how to address this problem dahil ayaw nating lumala ito at ayaw nating maapektuhan ang ating mga kababayan," he stated.

He emphasized the critical importance of health, equating it to the life of every Filipino, and underscored the need for DOH to be well-prepared. He stressed, "tandaan natin na ang kalusugan ay katumbas ng buhay ng bawat Pilipino."

Reflecting on his legislative efforts, Go then highlighted the bills he filed in the Senate to improve the country's health infrastructure and capacity to handle infectious diseases.

"Unang-una pa lang noong 18th Congress nag-file na po ako ng bill na creating the Virology Institute. Ito yung sana po may kakayahan na rin po tayong gumawa ng sariling bakuna , at saka yung bill na Center for Disease Control, eto po yung monitoring ng mga infectious diseases," Go mentioned.

He stressed the importance of being proactive and prepared, drawing lessons from the challenges faced during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Go has filed Senate Bill No. (SBN) 195, which seeks to create a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and SBN 196, which aims to establish the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP).

Under SBN 195, some of the proposed major functions of the CDC will include investigating potential cases of public health emergency; enforcing regulations to prevent the spread of communicable diseases; procuring and distributing vaccines, antibiotics, and other medical supplies; and working with other countries and international organizations to improve disease prevention and control systems and practices.

On the other hand, the VIP is envisioned to serve as the principal laboratory for Virology research and laboratory investigations, as well as the lead technical coordinator of the nationwide network of Virology laboratories. If passed into law, the VIP will accelerate the development of and expand access to new vaccines against diseases such as COVID-19 and ensure the country has sufficient emergency stockpile of vaccine doses.

"The more we should invest sa ating healthcare system, the more we should invest dito na magkaroon tayo ng sariling Center for Disease Control at ito pong Virology Science and Technology Institute," he said.

Recent reports from the DOH have indicated a reassuring turn, with all recorded cases of walking pneumonia now fully recovered. The DOH reported four cases in total: one case in January, another in July, and two additional cases in September.

DOH Secretary Ted Herbosa has also confirmed that there is currently no outbreak of walking pneumonia in the country.

Despite this, Go has urged Filipinos to maintain vigilance and adhere to health protocols, including the voluntary use of masks. The senator also earlier reinforced the role of Malasakit Centers and Super Health Centers in providing accessible healthcare and early disease detection, especially in light of these recent health concerns.

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