THE raging COVID-19 pandemic is, without doubt, a wake-up call to the government to finally establish fully-equipped quarantine facilities in all the regions across the country.
Thus, the two-chamber Congress should waste no time in approving a proposed landmark legislation mandating the government to be more proactive in preparing for future pandemics.
In the view of many, our lawmakers can recover lost ground if they speed up the passage of Senate Bill (SB) No. 1259, otherwise known as the “Mandatory Quarantine Facilities Act of 2020.”
Authored by Sen. Bong Go, the proposed measure provides that a regional quarantine facility should be strategically located and easily accessible to a Department of Health-run hospital.
“Let us learn from this COVID-19 experience, ngayon pa lang…ihanda na rin natin ang bansa sa anumang krisis na maaaring dumating,” said Go, a former Special Assistant to the President (SAP).
As proposed by Senator Go in SB No. 1259, the regional quarantine facilities will house high-risk individuals suspected of having infectious diseases, like COVID-19, which originated from China.
Construction of the facilities will be handled by the Department of Public Works and Highways, while the Department of Health will be primarily responsible for their operation, supervision and management.
We share Go’s view that there’s a need to be proactive “at umpisahan nang maglatag ng mga measure na magsisiguro sa ating kahandaan sa mga darating pang krisis na gaya nito.”
The World Health Organization had earlier said that isolating persons who have been exposed to an infectious disease is a long-established public health strategy in order to prevent transmission.
In our view, hastening the approval of the proposed law is not too much of a problem in Congress because our lawmakers – senators and congressmen – are well-meaning leaders.