House approves creation of National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Commission

The House committee on health chaired by Rep. Angelina Tan (4th District, Quezon) has approved a substitute bill which seeks to institutionalize health promotion in the country by establishing a National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Commission.

In a recent hearing, Rep. Evelina Escudero (1st District, Sorsogon) presented the technical working group's report on the bill. She said the bill substituted House Bills 918 and 3657 authored by Reps. Harry Roque Jr. (Party-list, Kabayan) and Tan, respectively, and it primarily seeks to empower the people to increase control over their health through adequate information and to help improve health in general.

It also aims to streamline health policies through population-based approaches in public policy, plans and programs of government and various sectors, said Escudero who presented the report in behalf of Rep. Tricia Velasco-Catera (Party-list, MATA), chairperson of the TWG.

The unnumbered substitute bill defines Health Promotion as the process of developing an enabling social, political, economic, and cultural environment through sustainable inter-sectoral policies, resources, and actions by health and non-health sectors at national, local, community, and individualized levels leading to social and behavioral changes that result in health and well-being.

The bill seeks to establish the necessary infrastructure for health promotion such as the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Commission of the Philippines or Commission which is envisioned to be an independent body separate from the Department of Health (DOH).

The Commission shall develop and update the national health promotion and disease prevention policy framework and action plan through the adoption of population-based approaches and employment of key strategies such as policy studies, advocacy, communication research, law enforcement, information, education, mass communication/social media and social mobilization, and monitor their implementation.

The Commission shall also coordinate the activities of and strengthen working relationships between government and non-government agencies involved in the implementation of health promotion programs.

Moreover, it shall monitor and assess the implementation of laws and policies on health, including the implementation of international conventions.

Other functions of the Commission are : recommend key development investments in specific sectors impacting health promotion to ensure the achievement of national health goals such as health consciousness awareness programs, policy studies, review of existing legislation; encourage healthy lifestyles in the community and support activities involving participation in healthy pursuits ; and harmonize and coordinate all health promotion and disease prevention programs and activities in the country.

The Commission shall be composed of the President of the Philippines who shall serve as the Honorary Chairperson and six Commissioners to be selected by the President from a list of qualified candidates recommended by the advisory board based on qualifications set forth in the Act.

The advisory board shall be composed of 25 ex-officio members to include the Secretaries of the Departments of Health, Agriculture, Education, Social Welfare and Development, Interior and Local Government, Environment and Natural Resources, Budget and Management, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry, Transportation, Information and Communications Technology, Public Works and Highways, Executive Directors of the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Science and Technology, the National Nutrition Council, Occupational Health and City Center, Philippine Institute for Traditional and Alternative Care and the Philippine Council for Health and Research Development.

Likewise, the Chairpersons of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), National Youth Commission (NYC), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Chair of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) shall also be members of the advisory board.

Other members of the advisory board are 13 independent experts in public health or health promotion. They shall come from the following sectors: education, communication, social marketing, sports, dentistry, community health and other allied health services, alternative medicine, counselors, women, youth, poverty, law, and public administration.

The bill also mandates the Commission to formulate a National Strategic Framework on Health Promotion in consultation with the advisory board within six months after the effectivity of the Act.

The Framework shall serve as the basis for health promotion planning, research and development, monitoring of activities, and financing, to promote healthy behavior and shall be aligned with the framework of the DOH.

The Framework shall include components such as: national priorities; health impact assessments; conduct of nutrition surveys; policy recommendations and draft policies; compliance with international commitments and guidelines; research and development plans; sex-disaggregated database development and management; and interventions in education such as proposals for curriculum revisions and 30 modules, among others.

The bill also seeks the creation of a Health Promotion Trust Fund which shall be used for the attainment of sustainable development goals and undertake health promotion activities and other activities necessary to fulfill the objectives of the Act.

The Fund shall be sourced from five percent of the remaining 80 percent of incremental revenues allocated for universal health pursuant to Republic Act No. 10351, otherwise known An Act Restructuring The Excise Tax On Alcohol And Tobacco Products By Amending Sections 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 8, 131 And 288 Of Republic Act No. 8424. Otherwise Known As The National Internal Revenue Code Of 1997, As Amended By Republic Act No. 9334.

The Fund shall be used to support the health promotion and disease prevention plan and activities of the Commission which include supporting inter-agency and inter-sectoral collaboration for preventive measures and planning; promoting supportive environments that affect health; promoting preventive care and prevention of non-communicable diseases; research and evaluation of health promotion policies and strategies; mass media campaigns; and augmenting support and resources for local health workers.

A Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (COC) shall be constituted to review the implementation of the Act and the performance and structure of the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Commission and Health Promotion Fund Board after two years of their creation.

The COC shall be composed of five members from the Senate and five members form the House of Representatives to be appointed by the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively.

The COC shall be jointly chaired by the Chairpersons of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography and the House of Representatives Committee on Health.

Source: House of Representatives

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