Salceda sets record straight about fate of RITM

Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda has set the record straight regarding the alleged bleak future of the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) in the event the proposed Center for Disease Control (CDC) comes to fruition.

Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda

According to the rumor, the RITM will get abolished and its workers laid off when the CDC gets institutionalized.

Salceda, who has principally authored and sponsored the CDC measure since the previous 18th Congress, on Sunday, Nov. 27, said “that is not the intention, the objective, the letter, or even the execution of the law".

“I don’t know where it comes from but let me categorically say, on record, that the RITM will stay, it will continue to perform most of its functions, and there will be no layoffs," said the chairman of House Committee on Ways and Means.

Salceda gave this reassurance as workers in the RITM have protested recently about possible layoffs with the creation of the CDC.

The charter of the CDC has already been approved by the House Committees on Health, Ways and Means, and Appropriations, and is now ready for deliberations in the House floor. The measure was a priority of the previous Duterte administration and was also identified as a priority bill of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

The Bicolano said that “The CDC will be primarily a national health emergency management, public policy, and research center.”

“The RITM is, and will continue to be, its own research center with a hospital, a testing center, the country’s central reference laboratory, and will continue to perform its existing role over many diseases, including perennial ones like tuberculosis and malaria.”

He added that under the CDC, the RITM will be part of a “total disease prevention ecosystem, rather than an island of epidemic prevention under the current health governance structure.”

“Simply put, it will be a tree that’s part of a forest, rather than something more solitary as it currently stands," he explained.

He said that plantilla units under the RITM may “at worse, be relocated to some other unit in the CDC. But no job reduction."

“You can quote me on this: As champion of the CDC charter, we will not defund the RITM because of the new agency,” Salceda said.