Congress to expedite creation of virology institute - DOST-PCHRD

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 28) — Congress is expediting several bills seeking to establish a virology institute in the country, the Department of Science and Technology's Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) said on Friday.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Final Word, DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Jaime Montoya said he is optimistic the measure will be passed into law before the year ends as President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. considered this a priority.

"We've been meeting almost everyday for the last week with the committees involved in the House and it's going to be passed in an expedited manner. We don't foresee any problems," Montoya added.

There are 31 House and nine Senate bills filed in the 19th Congress for the creation of a virology institute, according to Montoya.

He said DOST-PCHRD has asked at least seven scientists with expertise in plant, animal, and human virology studies to work with the department in establishing the agency.

"It's about time that we get involved in the study of viruses, in particular, development of vaccines, that will help us respond to these emergencies," Montoya said.

In August, Marcos said he has been in consultation with Congress to pass bills to create the Virology Institute of the Philippines, and the country's own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.