Solon pushes BoQ modernization
To augment local and international health surveillance in the prevention of the spread of global diseases, Representative Michael Romero filed a proposed measure seeking to modernize the country’s Bureau of Quarantine.
In House Bill 5666, Romero seeks to provide a P500 million modernization funding for the BoQ, increasing its administration, to promote local and international surveillance, to prevent the introduction and spread of infectious diseases, emerging diseases and public health emergencies of international concern.
“The examination at ports of entry and exit in the country of incoming and outgoing vessels and aircraft, the necessary surveillance over their sanitary conditions, as well as over their cargoes, passengers, crews, and all personal effects, and the issuance of quarantine certificates, bills of health or other equivalent documents shall be vested in and be conducted by the BoQ,” Romero said.
The lawmaker added that under Republic Act 9271 or the Quarantine Act 2004, the BoQ under the DoH, with the category of a first-class line bureau, should have a nationwide scope of function and international commitment in accordance with the International Health Regulations of the World Health Organization.
Romero also said that the BoQ should have authority over incoming vessels and outgoing vessels both domestic and foreign, including those of the Army and Navy, their wharfage and anchorage, and over aircraft and airports, insofar as it is necessary for the proper enforcement of the provisions of the Act.
The Department of Budget and Management, he said, should rationalize the existing organizational structure and staffing pattern of the BoQ in accordance with the provisions of the proposed measure and relevant compensation and position classification laws, rules and regulations.
“This House Bill seeks to provide modernization funding to the BoQ to augment local and international health surveillance in the prevention of the spread of global diseases. Thus, the early passage of this bill is earnestly requested,” Romero said.
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