Consultations on the Public Health Emergency Bill (PHEB) has come to an end this week following the final consultation with officials from the parliamentary opposition and the independent group including Honourable Charles Sigoto, Member of Parliament for Ranongga and Simbo Constituency, and Chairman of the Medical Parliamentary Standing Committee, in Honiara.
With the recommendations received yesterday, the PHEB taskforce has now moved to finalize the bill for submission to parliament.
Opening the final consultation on Wednesday, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) Mrs Pauline McNeil acknowledged the presence of Honourable Charles Sigoto and thanked the officials from the opposition and the independent office for their effort and time to attend the consultation.
“Your participation in the consultation today is crucial to the taskforce to further shape and define the bill to enhance the country’s effectiveness and efficiency to respond to the current COVID-19 global pandemic as well as future pandemic once enacted”,
“Equally important is that the bill does align itself as well to the international health regulation which the country has made commitments towards, so your contribution today is greatly appreciated”, stated Mrs McNeil.
The Secretary of the Independent Group Mr Billy Titiulu acknowledged the PHEB taskforce for taking the initiative to reach out to their offices.
“We are indeed pleased to have this opportunity to review the bill and present our recommendations and inputs at this consultation”.
He added, “While the bill will be thoroughly scrutinized by the parliamentary bills and legislation committee the consultation today provided an opportunity for us the officials to understand the context on why and how the bill is shaped and defined to help the leaders of our offices to scrutinize the bill when their turn comes”.
Mr Titiulu presented the recommendations and inputs for the bill on behalf of the opposition and the independent group.
The bill once enacted will replace the current State of Public Emergency (SoPE) once it expires on the 24th of this month (March).
Closing the consultation, Attorney-General highlighted that the consultations over the past months had enabled the PHEB taskforce to generate very important suggestions and recommendations, inputs as well as views and opinions that had greatly improved the bill.
“We would not have reached this far if not for the great support of all those consulted for the bill and thus a sincere thank you to everyone including our final group from the parliamentary opposition and Independent group”.
The PHEB taskforce will now move to finalize the bill for submission to parliament.