Marcos pushes creation of virology institute, disease control center

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Marcos pushes creation of virology institute, disease control center
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. attended the 15th Philippine National Health Research System Week celebration in Clark, Pampanga on Thursday (August 11, 2022).
STAR / KJ Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — To better consolidate research, knowledge sources and new data related to the pandemic, President Marcos yesterday pushed for the passage of measures creating a virology institute and a disease control center even as he urged health researchers to continue exchanging information due to the evolving nature of COVID-19.

“We have been in consultation with the House of Representatives and the Senate to bring these — to create these agencies so that we can bring them to bear in what we are up to now continuing to have to fight,” the President said during the celebration of the 15th Philippine national health research system week in Pampanga.

“We will continue to work so that our people are safer, so that our citizens have better access to health care and so that... the quality of our health care will improve,” he added.

Measures seeking to create the Virology Institute of the Philippines and a disease control center are included in Marcos’ 19 priority bills.

Marcos, who has caught COVID-19 twice, said openness of mind and the continuing flow of information among different agencies have become critical, given that the virus is mutating.

“All of these things just — have kept coming at us. It has gotten to the point where I always — I’m hesitant to say we are at the tail end of the pandemic. Every time I say that, there’s a new surge,” Marcos said.

“The first meeting that Usec. (Rosario) Vergeire and I had, I said, ‘It seems that it is now over. It seems that we are at the tail end of the pandemic.’ And here we come again with a new variant of coronavirus... of Omicron that now we have to deal with, that you have to genome sequence again, that we have to find a booster so that the people are fully immunized,” he added, referring to the Department of Health officer-in-charge who also attended the event in Pampanga.


Marcos said the present health crisis has exposed the vulnerability of Filipinos and has prodded authorities to devise efficient responses and mechanisms.

“That is why I believe we continue to remain open to these new ideas and commit to work together. And I suppose it is different when we talk about hard science and primary research, like what you are doing now, because we are still at primary research when it comes to the pandemic. So we must really be very wary of getting fixed and say this is what it is. Because we know, it evolves, it mutates. And after a couple of months, it is not what it is any longer.”

According to Marcos, health researchers have demonstrated intellectual humility and have remained open to gaining new insights and knowledge.



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