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DOH suggested that CDC absorb RITM.

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The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), according to Department of Health (DOH) representatives who spoke to senators on Thursday, would be incorporated into the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) while maintaining its activities.

In response to questions from Senators Pia Cayetano and Nancy Binay about the proposed structure of the CDC and their concerns about potential overlaps with the functions of another proposed facility, the Vaccine, and Virology Institute, RITM Director Celia Carlos clarified this during the joint hearings of the Senate Committees on Health, Finance, and Ways and Means.

Cayetano, who presided over the session, questioned why the Vaccine and Virology Institute needed to be established rather than improving RITM’s functionality.

“The Virology Institute’s research department will look into viruses that harm not just people but also animals and plants. So the Virology Institute has a fairly broad mandate. While RITM only focuses on human research, particularly that on disorders that are significant for public health, “Luis remarked.

Carlos said that in addition to the idea that RITM maintains its current roles and areas of focus, a research agenda would also be developed to prevent duplication.

“They won’t cross over with the other study areas that RITM is now covering. A research agenda will be decided upon by an executive board, of which the RITM director will be a member. Therefore, perhaps the debate over which agency will be in charge of what will be settled at that level “She spoke.

Razel Nikka Hao, the director of DOH’s Disease Prevention and Control Bureau, explained to senators how they envision the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an organization within the DOH framework attached to the Office of the Secretary, headed by a Director General and supported by technical units like the Health Economic Service, Policy and Planning Office, Administration, Finance, and Legal Affairs.

The Centers for Health Statistics, Epidemiology and Surveillance, Reference Laboratories, and Health Evidence, according to her, will make up the planned CDC.

The Clinical Research, Laboratory Research, Biologicals Manufacturing, Administrative, and Financial Divisions make up RITM, in contrast.

In his first State of the Nation Address, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. listed eight key initiatives, two of which were the establishment of the National Disease Prevention Management Authority and the Virology Institute of the Philippines (VIP).

Senators Francis Escudero, Christopher Lawrence Go, Grace Poe, Jinggoy Estrada, Sherwin Gatchalian, Loren Legarda, JV Ejercito, Ramon Revilla Jr., Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Cayetano filed 11 bills that are currently pending in the Senate and seek to establish the CDC.

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