By Rjhay E Laurea
MANILA — Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna signed on April 8 a deed of transfer on a parcel of land that will be turned over to the Department of Health’s main research arm — the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
“This deed of conveyance is the DENR’s simple gift and contribution for RITM to further advance their research work, and prepare to address the current pandemic and health concerns that may arise in the future,” said Sampulna.
The state signing of the deed of transfer was under Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Proclamation No. 1276 dated Jan. 6, 2022, which states that a parcel of inherited land within the Alabang Stock Farm, Muntinlupa City, will be for RITM building site purposes.
The 9,077-square meter land is adjacent to the current site of the health research facility in Alabang.
RITM Dir. Celia C. Carlos, MD expressed her gratitude to the DENR for facilitating the preparation of the deed of transfer, and for issuing the land in their favor, noting that one of the facility’s problems was the lack of space.
“I wish to acknowledge the big help provided by Land Management Bureau Director Atty. Emelyne V. Talabis and her staff who guided and supported us in all stages of this journey towards RITM acquisition of additional lots,’ said Carlos.
RITM has been responding to waves of infectious diseases for the last 20 years, including the first severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) surge in 2003.
It was also at the lead controlling the AH1N1 pandemic in 2009, measles outbreak in 2013, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) surge in 2014-15, polio surge in 2018, and SARS-CoV spread in 2019.
Carlos also pointed out that the extra parcel of land would help widen the center’s healthcare services and technologies.
RITM currently houses 18 National Reference Laboratories in infectious diseases, which allow healthcare workers and experts to do further tests, and apply quality assurance. (ai/mtvn)