PH Virology Institute Bill approved on third and final reading

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 5) — With 216 yes votes, zero no votes, and zero abstentions, the “Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines (VVIP) Act,” has been approved on its third and final reading.

House Bill (HB) 6452 — which is a consolidation of 31 different bills — seeks the creation of a VVIP. The agency would serve as a strategic response to the Covid-19 pandemic and to future health crises.

The measure was approved via nominal voting during a Monday Plenary session presided over by Deputy Speaker and Ilocos Sur Rep. Kristine Singson-Meehan.

The VVIP would serve as a virology hub for both human and animal virus diseases, and an attempt at launching a Philippine vaccine development program. It will be an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. previously identified the VVIP as a priority measure of his administration during his maiden State of the Nation Address in July.

READ: Congress to expedite creation of virology institute - DOST-PCHRD

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“What we learned from the last pandemic is that if a health crisis is in a scale that crosses international borders, we have to act fast and rely on our own resources. We need to respond to it effectively. A virology and vaccine institute can help us stop a deadly virus in its tracks,” said Speaker Martin Romualdez, cousin to Marcos and one of the principal authors of the measure.

On the same day the measure was approved on its final reading, Romualdez vowed that the House would pass Marcos’ initial priority measures before the end of 2022.

READ: Romualdez says House to pass BBM initial priority bills before year-end

It was also part of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council’s (LEDAC) Common Legislative Agenda.

Under the 18th Congress, a VVIP Bill also hurdled House approval in HB 9559. However, it fell short when it was transmitted to the Senate and did not come to fruition.