Medical Reserve Corps Act gets final House nod

MEMBERS of the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the proposed “Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Act,” which aims to strengthen government support for the country’s public health system.

Quezon 4th District Representative Angelina “Helen” Tan hailed the move, saying the passage of the measure is “a proactive response to the distress call of medical societies and health workers that earlier warned the Philippines is losing the COVID-19 fight.”

Under House Bill (HB) 8999, an MRC shall be composed of medical students, and licensed physicians and allied health professionals. They will undergo training on responses to local and national health emergencies, and shall serve under the Health Emergency Management Bureau (HEMB) of the Department of Health (DoH).

The medical reservists may also be deployed to conduct contact tracing and monitor suspected cases during outbreaks; help enforce quarantine protocols; and provide logistics and manpower support for large-scale emergencies.

The measure, likewise, gives the President the power to mobilize the MRC, in case of a declaration of a state of war, lawless violence, or calamity. Mobilization centers shall be established nationwide.

“If the pandemic is going to persist further as it already did, then we need urgent reinforcement, which is what this bill is all about,” Tan said.