DBM allots P669.3 million for first virology, vaccine institute in 2023 NEP

The national government (NG) is allocating P669.3 million to finance the establishment of the Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines (VIP), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.

DBM Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman said the fiscal year (FY) 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP) earmarked P250 million for the construction of the VIP building in Capas, Tarlac, and P419.3 million for several research and development projects of the institute.

The funds for the VIP building construction is provided under the Department of Public Works and Highways budget in FY 2023, while the researches of VIP are under the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

“We need to be proactive and fund for a Virology Institute composed of highly-trained experts who would conduct studies on emerging virus strains as quickly as possible and prepare us in case of health emergencies,” Pangandaman said.

The ongoing projects of the VIP include the isolation and purification of Philippine Common Viruses with Medical Importance and Pandemic Potential for Antigen-Antibody Studies as well as Combination Therapy: Lytic Bacteriophages and Plant Extracts against Multidrug-resistant Bacteria, Detection of Food and Water-borne Bacterial Pathogens Using Phage-based Diagnostics.

The VIP is also undertaking a De Novo Synthesis of Non-infective Zika Pseudovirus as Reference for Diagnostics and Vaccines Development, Development of a Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction for Point of Need Detection of African Swine Fever Virus; Development of PCR-based Detection Kit for Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus (TYLCV)—Philippine Strains; and Antigenic Peptide VLPs as Potential Candidates for Covid-19 Vaccine Development.

The President earlier recognized the crucial role of the VIP in society. In his budgetary message on the 2023 NEP, the Chief Executive expressed that the P419.3 million allocation for the VIP mirrored the country’s need for faster identification of, and response to, outbreaks.

PHL investment showcase

Meanwhile, the DBM expects to showcase various investment opportunities in the Philippines at the investors briefing of the economic team in New York.

The Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) will allow the country’s economic managers to engage with business leaders, bankers, and investors in New York.

The PEB New York will focus mainly on economic and industry updates, to be led by Secretary Benjamin Diokno of the Department of Finance (DOF) and Secretary Alfredo Pascual of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The President will deliver the keynote message at PEB New York in the hopes that he would be able to encourage investors to take part in the Philippines’s economic resurgence.

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic and the global economic upheavals, we remain on track to reach upper middle-income status by next year. With steady investment in food [security], public health, education, and other social services, we expect to become a moderately prosperous country by 2040. I am confident that we will achieve this vision,” the President said at the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

The Chief Executive’s pronouncement will be further tackled by the first panel of the PEB, composed of the Finance Chief, Budget Secretary Pangandaman, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Bangko Sentral Governor Felipe Medalla, and Ayala Corporation Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.

The discussion will focus on economic development and outlook, fiscal management, budget priorities, and the business climate in the country.

Meanwhile, the second panel will showcase Philippine trade and industry, tourism, transport, energy, and information and communications technology. President and CEO Sabin Aboitiz of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, who is also the head of the Private Sector Advisory Council, will also join the panel to share his insights on investment opportunities.

The collaboration between the government and the private sector showcased in the PEB is expected to result in lasting ties with key stakeholders that will propel the inflow of investments in the country. Organized by DOF and BSP, the event is an avenue to touch base with over a hundred decision-makers to discuss the current status of and outlook on the economy.