By Cip D.C. Cabrera
MALACAÑAN, Manila — Highlighting the Marcos administration’s advocacy of ensuring the health and safety of the citizenry, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has allocated P419.3 million in the FY 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP) for the research and development projects of the proposed Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines (VIP).
Budget and management secretary Amenah Pangandaman affirmed the budget appropriation, saying that the fund allocation for the VIP only demonstrates President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.’s commitment to promoting and protecting the welfare of every Filipino.
In an earlier statement, the president recognized the crucial role of the VIP in our society, stressing in his budgetary message on the 2023 NEP that the P419.3 million allocation for the VIP mirrored the country’s need for faster identification of and response to viral or bacterial outbreaks of concern.
“We need to be proactive and fund 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 pointed out.
She clarified that in the FY 2023 NEP submitted to Congress, the DBM earmarked the amount for the different ongoing projects of the VIP, whose medical and scientific undertakings are now at present being initiated by the Department of Science and Technology (DoST)’s Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
The said undertakings include Isolation and Purification of Philippine Common Viruses with Medical Importance and Pandemic Potential for Antigen-Antibody Studies, Combination Therapy: Lytic Bacteriophages and Plant Extract against Multidrug-resistant Bacteria, Detection of Food and Water-borne Bacterial Pathogens Using Phage-based Diagnostics, De Novo Synthesis of Non-infective Zika Pseudovirus as Reference for Diagnostics and Vaccines Development, Development of a Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction for Point of Need Detection of African Swine Fever Virus, Development of PCR-based Detection Kit for Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus (TYLCV) – Philippine Strains, and Antigenic Peptide VLPs as Potential Candidates for Covid-19 Vaccine Development.
In conclusion, the budget chief disclosed that for the construction of the building for VIP in Capas, Tarlac, an amount of P250 million will be provided under the Department of Public Works and Highways budget in FY 2023. (AI/MTVN)
An artist’s sketches of structures to be built for the proposed Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines that will rise in Capas, Tarlac. (Photo courtesy of CDODev.com)