On Tuesday, the House of Representatives (“HOR”) of the Republic of the Philippines passed a resolution to reject the World Health Organisation’s (“WHO’s”) amendments to the International Health Regulations (“IHR”) adopted by the World Health Assembly (“WHA”) on 27 May 2022. Additionally, the resolution rejected proposed amendments that are “currently being negotiated in secret” by the WHA and due for adoption by member states in May 2024.
Immediately following the passing of this resolution, Representative S. Dan Fernandez, who submitted the resolution to the HOR and is also the Chairman of the Public Order and Safety Committee, notified WHO in writing that the Philippines House of Representatives rejects the IHR amendments adopted in 2022.
In May 2022 the WHA quietly agreed to reduce the period during which nations have to opt out of future amendments to the IHR. For nations to retain the longer 18-month period previously allowed for nations to opt out, countries needed to send WHO a short note that they are opting out of the amendments decided by the WHA in 2022 before 1 December 2023.
In November, the Philippines HOR rejected this amendment and went further. It also rejected the proposed IHR amendments due for adoption by WHO member states in May 2024.
At the time of writing, the latest resolution to be uploaded onto HOR’s website is HR01463 dated 13 November. However, as reported by citizen journalist and data scientist Super Sally 888, on 28 November resolution HR1490, which had been submitted by Rep. Fernandez and then adopted by the House of Representatives, was filed. The resolution states:
It is hereby resolved by the House of Representatives to urge the Government to reject the amendments to the International Health Regulations adopted on 27 May 2022, and the proposed amendments that are currently being negotiated in secret and due for adoption in May 2024 as they pose a threat to public order and safety, being violative of well-established health protocols and prejudicial to our fundamental democratic principles.
With the Deadline for Rejection of the WHO IHRS Looming, Hon. Representative Fernandez has issued HR1490 Urging Rejection, Super Sally 888, 29 November 2023
The Philippines Congress is made up of the lower house, the House of Representatives, and the upper house, the Senate. In the Philippines, resolutions fall into one of three categories:
Joint resolutions – require approval from the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the signature of the President. They have the force and effect of a law once approved.
Concurrent resolutions – used for matters affecting operations of both chambers and must be approved in the same form by both. These are not transmitted to the President; hence, they do not have the same force and effect of a law.
Simple resolutions – deal with matters entirely within one of the chambers. As such, these are not referred to the President and do not have the force and effect of a law.