SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
09 June 2021 05:44:23 PM
The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability on Wednesday terminated its inquiry, in aid of legislation, into the questionable receipt of private funding by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other government agencies and institutions in exchange for the issuance of specific and pre-defined policies directed against a legitimate industry under Philippine laws and in complete disregard of the rights and welfare of consumers. It was based on House Resolution 1396 filed by Deputy Speaker Deogracias Victor Savellano and Rep. Estrellita Suansing (1st District, Nueva Ecija). In his opening remarks, Committee Chairman Rep. Michael Edgar Aglipay (Party-list, DIWA), noted that the schedule of the investigation is timely with the FDA fighting at the forefront against COVID-19. The tackled monetary grant was received in 2016 from The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases or The Union, which co-manages the Bloomberg Initiative. Both organizations advocate against the tobacco industry. While it is the government’s goal to promote public health, several legislators raised that this has caused “discrimination” against the tobacco industry. HR 1396 provides “while public health is indeed a matter of state policy, as we have seen during this pandemic, there is a need to strike a delicate balance between the health and economic needs of the people.” With the possible influence of these organizations on the country’s government agencies, Aglipay stressed that the independence and sovereignty of the Philippines must be protected, and that “any attack in whatever form must be repelled by Filipino citizens.” The panel underscored the need to revisit existing laws as well as the FDA's policies and guidelines to ensure transparency and equity among stakeholders. In conclusion, House Members agreed that all other documents and findings on the matter would be submitted to the Secretariat to be included in the committee report.