Press Release
November 24, 2022

Transcript of the opening statement of Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Health subcommittee hearing on the bills establishing the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Medical Reserve Corps

Welcome to the hearing of the Committee on Health and Demography, joint with the Committees on Finance, and Ways and Means.

As Chairperson of the Sub-Committee for the hearings on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), this representation will preside.

There are 11 Senate bills filed on CDC while 9 bills were filed about MRC. Among these are bills that I personally filed. Let me put on record the Senate Bills that are going to be taken up on this hearing.

On the CDC:

SBN 12 (filed by this representation & Sen. Escudero)
SBN 195 (by Sen. Go) SBN 544 (by Sen. Poe)
SBN 600 (by Senate President Zubiri)
SBN 679 (by Sen. Estrada)
SBN 825 (by Sen. Gatchalian)
SBN 1039 (by Sen. Escudero)
SBN 1113 (by Sen. Legarda)
SBN 1163 (by Sen. Ejercito)
SBN 1427 (by Sen. Revilla)
SBN 1477 (by Sen. Villanueva)

On the Medical Reserve Corps bill; and there is another acronym, HEART, [Health Emergency Auxiliary Reinforcement Team] which I suppose we will talk about because I understand this is the administration's version:

SBN 88 (by Senate President Zubiri)
SBN 255 (by this representation)
SBN 892 (by Sen. Tolentino)
SBN 1017 (by Sen. Estrada)
SBN 1120 (by Sen. Marcos)
SBN 1131 (by Sen. M. Villar)
SBN 1180 (by Sen. Go)
SBN 1423 (by Sen. Revilla)
SBN 1475 (by Sen. Villanueva)

Let us put on record that the CDC and the MRC are among the legislative priority measures identified by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC). These bills were also mentioned as priority measures by President Marcos in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA)

On my part, as Chair of the Committee on SDGs, Innovation, and Futures Thinking, I'd like to express my excitement for the hearings and the eventual passage of these measures. The establishment of the CDC and the augmentation of our health human resource through the MRC will help future-proof our health care system.

These will prepare us for all possible futures, whether it be another pandemic, natural disaster, or man-made disaster, that may threaten the country's health security.

I'd also like to point out that this is in line with SDG 3, which ensures healthy lives and promotes the well-being for all at all ages. Target 3.3 is Infectious diseases. To put on record, by 2030, the goal is to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases, and combat hepatitis, waterborne diseases and other communicable diseases.

Target 3.4 on Noncommunicable diseases. Again, by 2030, reduce by one-third premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases through prevention and treatment, and promote mental health and well-being.

Goal 3.d on Emergency preparedness. Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks.

Now more than ever, we need to invest in our healthcare system to prepare us better for other possible health emergencies and to help us build a better, more sustainable future beyond COVID-19.

I'd also like to put on record that this representation is the Asia-Pacific Chair for UNITE, which is a network of parliamentarians initially to end infectious diseases, but this has been expanded to be a network for global health. So we are also very keen on working with our regional neighbors and the world to do our part in eradicating diseases that can be eradicated and minimize the spread and also be at the forefront of prevention, when we can be.

So, on that note, our flow will be as follows:

We will have our DOH representatives who will make presentations on CDC and MRC. and then we will have other representatives, both from government and non-government to also provide inputs on this.

As the senators come in in order of arrival, they will be given priority in asking questions, ideally after all the presentations. But if there are not a lot of senators, they can ask questions after the main resource persons. I will just have to intervene if necessary. We need to give everybody the chance to speak with the limited time we have. We will have our hearing until around 4 o'clock.

So on that note, I would like to recognize the presence of Sen. Nancy Binay, Sen. Go, the Chairman of the Committee on Health. Aside from the presentations that will be made... I ask the resource persons to deliver your statements short and concise...

We are ready to proceed. Let me now call on the Department of Health to present. For CDC is Director Nikka Hao, and then after you will be the presentation of Director Bernadette Velasco for the MRC.

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