Philippines, US discuss biological threat reduction

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and the United States held a series of meetings to discuss current and future biological threat reduction and chemical security capacity-building initiatives in the Philippines.

The US government, through the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program, met with the Philippine government to support the Philippines in addressing biological and chemical security threats.

DTRA representatives met officials of the Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, Department of Science and Technology, and Department of the Interior and Local Government for an exchange on a five-year biological threat reduction and chemical security capacity-building program, development of a sub-national level laboratory network, and potential future training opportunities on chemical security and bio-risk management.

“We are proud to be a partner in the multi-year effort to jointly address biological and chemical security threats,” Program manager Michelle Nalabandian said.

Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) officer-in-charge Dr. Reildrin Morales underscored the importance of upgrading the capacity of the Philippines’ veterinary services and noted that the CTR Program “will enhance the BAI-Animal Disease Diagnosis and Reference Laboratory to prevent and control the entry and spread of transboundary animal diseases that may pose a threat to the country’s agriculture economy.”

The CTR Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP) has been a partner of the Philippine government since 2016. In 2021, BTRP concluded a five-year project to renovate seven Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratories spread throughout the Philippines. These facilities have increased the Philippines’ capacity to detect and diagnose endemic and emerging diseases in the country and have been critical in the local response to African swine fever, avian influenza and COVID-19.

DTRA’s Chemical Security and Elimination (CSE) Program is also working with the Philippine government to build a national training center and create a chemical security curriculum in the country.

Since 2018, the CSE Program has engaged with the Philippine government and the Chemical, Biological, Radioactive and Nuclear Response National Team on strategic trade management, chemical transportation security and the development of a national list of chemicals of security concern.


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