Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Michael Defensor urged the Senate to pass a House bill seeking to create a new Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), which he said has become “absolutely crucial to enable the country to suppress future pandemics.”
“The bill is already with the Senate, after the House approved it in March. They ought to pass the measure forthwith,” Defensor said.
Defensor, who is running for Quezon City mayor, made the statement on the eve of National Health Emergency Preparedness Day, which the country observes every Dec. 6.
“We have to establish the MRC without delay to reinforce the country’s health system in times of public health emergencies, or severe health threats,” Defensor said.
President Rodrigo Duterte asked Congress to pass the MRC bill in his 5th State of the Nation Address in July.
Under House Bill 8999, Defensor said the MRC shall be supervised by the Health Emergency Management Bureau of the Department of Health, and shall be composed of licensed physicians, medicine graduates, medical students, registered nurses and other allied health professionals, including those who have retired and are no longer practicing in the hospital setting.
The MRC shall be mobilized when an emergency occurs due to a new infectious disease or biological toxin, bioterrorism, a natural disaster, a chemical attack or accidental release, a nuclear attack or accident, or an attack or accidental discharge of radioactive materials, among other perils.
It shall also be deployed to support the Armed Forces Medical Corps during a state of war, state of lawless violence or state of calamity.
Under the bill, Defensor said MRC members who render service shall receive compensation, medical care, hospitalization and other benefits and privileges during deployment, as prescribed by law or regulation.