Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has vowed to refile his bill seeking to establish the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP) in the 19th Congress.,“Having seen how good science helped and continues to help us combat the present pandemic, I remain hopeful that my colleagues will be more convinced of the necessity of this institute. I will definitely push again for its approval this time,” Go said.,Filed by Go in 2021, Senate Bill No. 2155 seeks to establish the VIP to boost the country’s ability to develop vaccines against highly pathogenic emerging viruses.,“The last two years spent battling the pandemic have exposed one of the biggest weaknesses in our healthcare system—our inability to produce vaccines of our own,” Go added.,VIP will serve as the principal laboratory of the country in providing virology laboratory investigations, research, and technical coordination of the entire network of virology laboratories nationwide. The bill, most notably, provides guidelines for the establishment and operation of testing, reference and biosafety Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 research laboratories throughout the country.,“My bill aims to establish a reliable national virology laboratory that shall play a critical role in surveillance, diagnosis and monitoring of viral diseases humans, plants and animals as well as in the understanding of the genetic changes in their viral genome as a prerequisite for a strong public health response to emerging, re-emerging and existing viral diseases in order to raise the level of health of the Filipino and improve their social, economic and cultural conditions,” explained Go.,“The overall goal of the VIP is to help develop vaccines against highly pathogenic emerging viruses. These efforts are intended to avoid similar situations where poorer nations are left with fewer medical resources, particularly vaccines, to address pandemics as compared to their more developed countries that have early on invested in health sciences and medical research,” he added.,The bill was once heard at the Senate Committee on Science and Technology of the 18th Congress.,The senator also filed SBN 2158 which seeks to establish the Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC shall serve as the lead agency for developing communicable disease control and prevention initiatives. It will be primarily responsible for controlling the introduction and spread of infectious diseases in the Philippines.,Finally, Go reiterated the need to always be one-step ahead, noting, “COVID-19 may not be the last health challenge we will have in our generation.”,“Dapat handa tayo para hindi tayo mabigla dahil hindi naman natin masabi kung ito na ba ang huling pandemya na darating sa buhay natin. Mas mabuti na handa tayo… mas mabuti nga magkaroon tayo ng sarili nating bakuna para hindi tayo umaasa sa ibang bansa. Mas mabuti na yung lagi tayong handa,” he stressed.,
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