DOST ‘happy’ with Duterte’s call on Congress to pass bill creating PH Virology Institute

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Monday, July 26, that it was “happy” to hear that the bill seeking the establishment of a Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VSTIP) has been included in the list of priority measures President Duterte mentioned during his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Facade of the P2-billion Virology Institute of the Philippines, which is expected to rise at the New Clark Economic Zone in Capas, Tarlac. (Screenshot from Research Pod Facebook page)

DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the President has granted his wish to include the passage of the Virology S&T Institute of the Philippines Act or the Virology & Vaccine Institute of the Philippines Act in his final SONA.

"I am very happy that he gave that message to Congress. We already have the local experts which are also products of our scholarships and training,” he said in a Viber message on Monday.

De la Peña had expressed hope that the Chief Executive “will promise to see to it that the bill will be passed during his administration.”

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“With our Balik Scientists and international partners, we can do it. We are not only talking of COVID-19. We are preparing for other viral diseases in the future,” de la Peña said.

“Also the vaccines which are covered by our national vaccination program and we can work on vaccines even for infectious diseases caused by non virus organisms,” he added.

DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina L. Guevara also welcomed Duterte’s inclusion of VIP bill as his SONA priorities.

“We are happy that the President mentioned the VIP (Virology Institute of the Philippines) in the SONA,” she said.

In his SONA, Duterte sought the creation of public entities dedicated to emerging and re-emerging diseases.

He then asked Congress to enact a law creating the Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the Virology and Vaccine Institute in the Philippines.

He expressed hope that Filipinos could produce the country's own vaccines in the future.

The DOST said it is eyeing to break ground for the state-of-the-art VIP by the fourth quarter of 2021.

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