By CNN Staff, December 30, 2022; CNN Philippines

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 30) – The Department of Health (DOH) wants President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to certify as urgent the legislation creating the Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).

“We are working with the Presidential Legislative and Liaison Office (PLLO) to fast-track the passage of the PH CDC bill. We have requested the same to be certified as urgent by the President,” the DOH said Friday.

The PH CDC bill or House Bill 6522 was approved by the lower House on third and final reading last Dec. 12. It saw 255 affirmations, zero negative votes, and zero abstentions.

The CDC would be an attached agency of the DOH. It would serve as the lead agency when combatting public health emergencies and coordinate with international CDCs during global health crises.

In his maiden State of the Nation Address, Marcos dubbed it a priority measure of his administration.

The CDC bill will next undergo deliberations in the Senate. This means that the higher chamber must deliberate and approve the measure over three different plenary readings on three different days before Marcos can sign and enact it into law.

However, as per the Rules of the Senate, if Marcos were to certify the bill as urgent an exception would be made and the bill could hurdle third reading approval in just one day. This urgent certification is typically made in response to a public calamity or emergency.

Last Dec. 15, Marcos certified two controversial House bills as urgent: the National Service Training Program Replacement Bill and the Maharlika Investment Fund Bill. Both were subsequently approved on second and third reading in just one day.

“Once passed into law, the CDC Act shall serve as legal basis for the continued and uninterrupted implementation of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program and response for other future public health emergencies, without the need for the declaration of a state of calamity,” the agency added.

A similar Marcos priority measure was the Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines (VVIP) Bill (HB 6452); it was approved on third reading in December. This measure was not certified as urgent.