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Albay Rep. Joey Salceda on Friday thanked Malacañang for “its openness” to certifying as urgent House Bill 6096, which creates the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and institutionalizes a health emergency response framework.

HB 6096, filed on Jan. 29 and with 166 co-authors in the House of Representatives, is currently pending in the committee on health. Earlier this year, Health Secretary Francisco Duque expressed support for the passage of the bill, Salceda said.

“I thank the President for his openness to certifying the bill as urgent, and Secretary Roque for conveying the President’s sentiments. This is a bill with 166 co-authors, so once we get it moving, it will pass very quickly,” the chair of the House ways and means panel said.

“The bill institutionalizes the inter-agency approach that the government, through the IATF, has done, but it provides a step-by-step blueprint for grand planning during pandemics,” he said.

“One of our weaknesses during this crisis is a systems-based view of the problem. We do individual interventions, but during system-wide risks like pandemics, you need system-wide solutions,” Salceda added.

Under Salceda’s bill, Center for Disease Control and Prevention is created, as an agency under the supervision of the DOH, but with broader policymaking, implementation, surveillance, disease control and prevention powers over communicable or infectious diseases.

The bill also institutionalized health emergency management through the creation of the Disease Emergency Management Bureau (DEMB) to calibrate the CDC’s response to health emergencies.

The bill also grants broader quarantine powers to the Secretary of Health and the CDC, a power Salceda says “would have been very useful.”

The bill also institutionalizes an iteration of the IATF through the Health Emergency Coordination Council, which shall coordinate national government response to health emergencies, and which shall declare the existence of a state of health emergency.

It also authorizes for LGUs to use calamity funds during a state of health emergency.

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