The Manila Times : BBM: Medical research needs bigger budget

2 November 2021

By Bernadette E. Tamayo | The Manila Times

PRESIDENTIAL candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Monday pressed for a bigger budget for medical research during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard-bearer in a statement said the budget, particularly for the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), must be increased.

The RITM was the only laboratory in the country that can test the Covid-19 in the early months of the pandemic.

Because its budget was low, it "caused many missed opportunities" to plan and implement research programs, he said.

There is still time to address the issue, now that the problem has been identified, Marcos said.

He also stressed the need to strengthen the University of the Philippines' National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, saying the country should be able to produce its own vaccine.

He said the University of the Philippines in Los Baños used to manufacture enough flu vaccines to inoculate 60 percent of the population. "We can do it but we should strengthen the system.

We have many technologies we can take advantage of," Marcos said.