Manila Standard : Marcos: Fund more research to back fight against COVID

1 November 2021

By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard

Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. on Monday said the government should allocate more funds for medical research, which has become significantly necessary during crucial times like the ongoing pandemic.

Marcos, standard-bearer of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, said the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, which was created in the 1980s, has shown its excellence when it became the only laboratory in the country that can test the COVID-19 in the early months of the pandemic.

He, however, lamented that the low budget of the research center caused many missed opportunities for RITM since it was tasked to plan and implement research programs for infectious and tropical diseases only.

“The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine is very relevant now to the COVID study. But in the past, these institutes were not given importance,” he said.

“It’s a pity and there were many missed opportunities, but we still have a chance. We already know the problem. We already know where we are lacking. Let’s build up the facilities of our research. It’s very important now because we didn’t think about it before because there was no pandemic. But now that there is a pandemic, we are reminded that we have to do all this,” he added.

Marcos also emphasized the need to strengthen the University of the Philippines’ National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, noting that the country should be able to produce its own vaccine.

“We used to make our own flu vaccine. We made it at UPLB and vaccinated 60 percent of the population. That’s why we can do it but we need to strengthen and improve the system. There are many new technologies that can be taken advantage of,” he said.