Virus-related research in the country would receive fresh funding next year in line with the government’s effort to ensure the health and safety of Filipinos, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman said the Marcos administration earmarked P419.3 million in the 2023 national budget for the research and development projects of the proposed Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines (VIP).

Pangandaman said the fund allocation demonstrates the current government’s commitment to ensuring the health and safety of the Filipino citizenry.

“We need to be pro-active and fund for a Virology Institute composed of highly-trained experts who would conduct studies on emerging virus strains as quickly as possible and prepare us in case of health emergencies,” Pangandaman said in a statement on Thursday, Sept. 22.

In the FY 2023 National Expenditure Program submitted to Congress, the DBM earmarked the amount for the different ongoing projects of the VIP.

At present, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)’s Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) spearhead the VIP’s medical and scientific undertakings,

For the construction of the building for VIP in Capas, Tarlac, an amount of P250 million is provided under the Department of Public Works and Highways budget in 2023.

President Marcos earlier recognized the crucial role of the VIP in the society.

In his budgetary message on the 2023 NEP, the chief executive expressed that the P419.3 million allocation for the VIP mirrored the country’s need for faster identification of, and response to, outbreaks.