By Joseph Pedrajas | Manila Bulletin
Presidential candidate and former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday said there is a need for the government to revisit the pandemic preparedness bill previously filed by his former running mate and late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
Marcos Jr. cited the importance of Santiago’s Senate Bill No. 1573, or the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act as it sought to “strengthen national response and preparedness for public health emergencies.”
If elected president, Marcos Jr. said he will push for the passing of the measure to ensure “that the country will be ready to address any health issue of this magnitude that could threaten and disrupt public health system in the future.”
“Kahanga-hanga ang kaniyang foresight. Ilang taon bago mangyari ay nakita na niya ito, sayang at hindi ito naging batas (I’m amazed by her foresight. It had been how many years before the COVID-19 pandemic happened, but she saw it was coming. It’s just a waste of opportunity that her bill didn’t become a law),” the presidential aspirant said, referring to his presidential running mate when he ran for the vice presidency in 2016.
Marcos Jr. said he will not let it happen again that the government will be at lost on how to solve an emergency health crisis, particularly the problem of lack of coordination between the national government and the local government units.
He stressed that the government must be prepared to respond immediately to a given situation; and the Santiago bill has laid out the blueprint for “effective emergency response.” “Nais nating lumikha ang Kagawaran ng Kalusugan ng isang istratehiya kung paano lalabanan ang pandemic at siya na rin ang magiging lead agency na mangangasiwa (We want the Department of Health to come up with a strategy on how to fight a pandemic and it will also become the lead agency),” he said.