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Health security council bill pushed

A House leader on Saturday pushed for the passage of the proposed Health Security Council that covers all types of health emergencies, including man-made ones.

“All threats to the health and safety of the people are a matter of national security and public health security,” said Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon said.

“As to the query of why there’s a mention of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons, the overall objective of the bill really is to cover all types of health emergencies,” Biazon added.

In case of a biological terrorist attack, for instance, Biazon said such weapons target the health of persons. “And that is why it is included in the concept of health security because this is in the in the overall framework of national security, which is defined as being a state or condition wherein the people’s welfare and well-being and way of life are enhanced and protected,” he explained.

The lawmaker, who is a principal author of the bill, further said the Department of National Defense (DND) is a necessary component of the planned Health Security Council because “the first capable, responsive responders” are usually from the military, which has the manpower to mobilize.

“They are organized, and the AFP can immediately deploy the first responders. And as we can see now in Cagayan, the response really was we were depending on AFP military assets to get things going,” Biazon said.

“The inclusion of the DND, we believe, is necessary component, especially that we are also including into the concern of the body—of health security – the aspects of man-made threats to health: bioterrorism in the use of biological weapons and even nuclear weapons. That is the overall concept and logic why the DND is included in the council,” he added.

Meanwhile, Biazon also said he does not see a conflict between the proposed Health Security Council and the existing National Security Council (NSC) as he clarified that the Health Security Council is focused specifically on health threats or health issues, while the NSC encompasses the overall aspects of national security.

“The NSC encompasses the overall aspects of national security, which would include territorial integrity, sovereignty, and protection of the whole state; whereas the Health Security Council is focused on the health issues,” he said.

“On the aspect of the national security strategy, that would emanate from the higher level, which is the NSC, and would have inputs to the health security policy that we will be crafting under this Health Security Council,” he added.

“So we don’t see a conflict, but we see that they would complement each other or the health Security Council would be focusing on a specific aspect of the entire national security issue,” he said.

Topics: Health Security Council , health emergencies , Ruffy Biazon , Department of National Defense
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