DOH: RITM employees to be absorbed under proposed CDC

DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire speaks to members of the media during the first face-to-face press briefing after two years at the DOH Central Office in Manila on Wednesday, July 20. (MB Photo: Noel Pabalate)

The Department of Health (DOH) assured employees of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) that they will be absorbed under the proposed Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“I just like to assure all of the personnel in Research Institute for Tropical Medicine na hindi natin bubuwagin ang RITM. Wala ring katotohanan na mayroong mga tao from RITM na hindi maabsorb or mawawalan ng trabaho (that the RITM will not be abolished. There is also no truth that there are people from RITM who will not be absorbed or will lose their jobs),” said DOH Officer-in Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire in a press briefing on Friday, Nov. 25.

“Again, we assure personnel in RITM that nobody will lose their work, everybody will be absorbed based on the capacity of each and every personnel in RITM,” she added.

If the proposed CDC bill will be enacted into law, this will help further strengthen RITM, said Vergeire.

"In fact, what we are going to do is to further strengthen Research Institute for Tropical Medicine because we are going to subsume the RITM into our current Center for Disease Control which will have more funds, which will have more support, which will have more experts for us to be further guided into these different tasks that we have,” said Vergeire.

The Health official said that on Nov. 12, RITM wrote to the DOH and legislators, expressing their support for the establishment of Philippine CDC.

“RITM specifically stated that they fully support the establishment of CDC, and that it is a national public health agency where RITM will be subsumed,” she said.

Recently, RITM employees expressed fear of the possibility that they will lose their job once the CDC bill is passed into law.

“The creation of PCDC will result in widespread displacement, mass lay-off and streamlining of health workers of RITM and other agencies under the DOH,” said RITM-Alliance of Health Workers President Romeo Garcia in a statement.

“With the PCDC house bills, there is no clear provision that health workers will be absorbed or transferred. What will happen to us health workers then?” he added.