Legislators expressed support for House Bill 4975 or the Health Promotion Act of 2014, which aimed to establish a Health Promotion Commission to coordinate implementation of preventive health care programs across different sectors and government agencies.
In a hearing, the Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization, reviewed the bill filed by Ang Nars Partylist representative Hon. Leah Paquiz and found it as an urgent measure to ensure a synchronized approach in the development of plans, policies and programs on preventive health care. The Health Promotion Commission will be comprised of representatives from government agencies as well as health promotion experts.
Hon. Gwen Garcia emphasized the urgency of the bill when she said, “This bill should have been filed in Congress 10 sessions ago.” She also expressed that HB 4975 is an important measure that would address the crisis in health that the Department of Health faces today, as health promotion will prevent the development of diseases.
The committee discussed that the current thrust of the DOH is geared towards the curative aspect rather than preventive heath care. The downgrading of the National Center for Health Promotion from a center to a support service leading to the reduction of its staff was also touched upon.
Resource speakers stated that the current bureaucracy cannot deal with health promotion, even if we add more budget to DOH budget. We need a multisectoral approach to effectively implement health promotion.
Dr. Ramon Paterno from the UP Manila National Health Institute also highlighted the need for an integrated approach in implementing health programs when he explained that health promotion entails creating a healthy environment. He added that only 30% of improvement on health come from health sector initiatives, 70% involves improvement on standard of living.
In order to resolve the issue, the committee decided to create a Technical Working Group to further thresh out the bill. Hon. Gwen Garcia also expressed that the short-term solution is to restore the status of DOH-NCHP as a bureau and to increase the budget for health.