PH scientists, researchers call for adoption of whole-of-gov’t,-society approach to address COVID-19 pandemic

Published July 15, 2021, 11:55 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The country’s scientists and researchers sought Thursday, July 15, the adoption of a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to address the issues, challenges, and problems brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.


The call was embodied in the eight-page “Resolutions” issued by the 43rd Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) of the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) during the last leg of the scientific and policy research forum on Thursday.

The ASM Resolutions contain policy recommendations from the six plenary sessions of the virtual conference held from July 12-15. The recommendations on appropriate interventions will be submitted to government agencies and the private sector for their consideration and appropriate action.

“There is a need to adopt whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach on health issues and problems brought about by the pandemic in order to enhance an inter- and multi-disciplinary approach involving all sectors to promptly respond to the crisis, implement reforms and programs, instil preparedness, and promote national recovery and resilience,” Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya said reading the “NAST 43rd ASM Resolutions”.

Montoya chairs the 43rd ASM and the ASM Resolutions Committee.

Under the “Resolutions”, the ASM laments that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all sectors and aspects of the society, aggravated existing societal gaps, and problems, and hampered national development.

“There is a need to build resilience against biological and environmental threats, and ensure that the food system is dedicated to improving the health and nutrition of consumers,” it said.

It also called for the adoption of a balanced approach to conservation and sustainable use of natural resources because of its significant impact on the food system, biodiversity, natural products development, and prevention of transmission of zoonotic diseases.

Montoya also voiced out the ASM’s call for the immediate setting up of state-of-the-art laboratories in virology to detect the emergence of viral variants through genomic surveillance to guide the development of public health protocols and policies.

The ASM also stressed the “need for a digital transformation of society, the adoption and development of information and communication technologies and practices that promote efficiency, continuity of work, and public safety.”

“The pandemic has amplified the need to enhance the resilience of our educational system to ensure the continuity of learning using digital and other flexible learning approaches,” read the 43rd ASM Resolutions.

It also cited the urgency to accelerate economic recovery to avoid deeper economic scarring that further erodes the potential for long-term growth and development.

“Developing and modelling interventions that are supported by an adequate information infrastructure can provide important insights in the crafting of public health policy, and assessing the impact of biological and environmental hazards and threats.”

The six plenary sessions of the virtual conference were the following:

-Food, Environment, and Health:Exploring the Connections;

-Viral Evolution, Dynamics and Modelling Interventions;

-Systems Approaches to Address Present-day Hazards;

-Educating for our Future: Retrieving the COVID-19 Generation; and

-Balancing the Economy and Health; and Health Systems Response and Preparedness.