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Need for virology institute for pandemic-resistant PH

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Rep. Camille Villar, the deputy speaker and representative for Las Pinas, pushed for the passage of a bill on Thursday that would establish the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP), saying it will pave the way for a more pandemic-resistant Philippines.

Villar stated that she is supporting House Bill 5683 in the hopes that if the VIP is established, “systems can adjust to better handle future public health catastrophes.”

“It is imperative that this law be passed as a quick fix to put our countrymen’s health and welfare first. Once passed into law, this proposal will give the nation stronger tools and strategies for coping with a future epidemic that may potentially ruin people’s lives and livelihoods “In a statement, she stated.

In accordance with the proposed measure, the VIP, which will fall under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), will be the focal organization for conducting scientific and technological research and development (R&D) relating to viruses and viral diseases in humans, plants, and animals; R&D in the areas of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines; and promotion and undertaking the transfer of R&D results to relevant government agencies, industry, and the academic community, among others.

It also aims to form collaborations with specialists and virology institutions around the globe to carry out inventive and ground-breaking research that will progress virology in the nation, including the creation of fresh medications and vaccines.

In his first State of the Nation Address in July, President Ferdinand R. Marcos mentioned the creation of a Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines as one of his top priorities and encouraged Congress to approve the law.

Following the emergence of the deadliest pandemic in modern medical history, plans to establish an institute for virology have accelerated. The DOST has started developing the institute, and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority has allocated some five hectares of land in New Clark City for its construction even though the legislation is still in the works.

The planned Virology Institute was adopted by the House of Representatives in the 18th Congress on the third and final reading, but the Senate was unable to take action on the legislation because of time constraints.

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