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Lawmaker expecting Duterte to tackle virology institute, pandemic recovery plans in final SONA

/ 02:20 PM July 19, 2021
vaccine

( PHOTO COURTESY OF DE LA SALLE UNIVERSITY-DASMARIÑAS)

MANILA, Philippines —Senator Joel Villanueva on Monday said he is expecting President Rodrigo Duterte to tackle the establishment of a virology institute in the country in his final State of Nation Address (SONA), saying the Philippines would always be at the “mercy” of manufacturers if it cannot produce its own vaccines.

Villanueva said this is among what he expects the President to discuss in his SONA alongside his plans for the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Umaasa po tayo ng malinaw na plano at direksyon mula sa Pangulo pagdating sa recovery ng ating bayan mula sa pandemya,” Villanueva said in a statement.

(We are expecting a clear plan and direction from the President on the recovery of our country from the pandemic.)

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“Tinitingnan rin po natin ang pagtatatag ng virology institute, at maging ang pag-develop ng bakuna dito mismo sa ating bakuran, para hindi na tayo umasa sa supply mula sa ibang bansa. Until we produce our own vaccines, we will be at the mercy of vaccine manufacturers who are trying to supply to all nations,” he added.

Joel Villanueva

Sen. Joel Villanueva   Screen grab/ Senate PRIB)

(We are also looking at the establishment of a virology institute, and even locally developing vaccines so that we no longer have to rely on supply from other countries.Until we produce our own vaccines, we will be at the mercy of vaccine manufacturers who are trying to supply to all nations.)

Pandemic-proof = more jobs

By making the Philippines “pandemic-proof,” Villanueva said the country can expect more investments which will create more livelihoods for Filipinos.

“Kailangan pong mapakita natin na kaya ng ating gobyerno na tumugon sa mga hamon na dala ng pandemya. If we can pandemic-proof the country, investments come in, which will lead to more jobs and livelihood. Hunger and malnutrition can be addressed comprehensively,” Villanueva said.

(We need to show that our government is capable of responding to the challenges posed by the pandemic. If we can pandemic-proof the country, investments will come in, which will lead to more jobs and livelihood. Hunger and malnutrition can be addressed comprehensively.)

The country’s virology institute is expected to rise by the end of 2023 or in 2024 at the New Clark Economic Zone in Capas, Tarlac, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) earlier said.

Healthcare blues

Villanueva also anticipates Duterte to discuss the government’s response in improving the country’s healthcare system and addressing the healthcare workers’ clamor in terms of their salary and allowance.

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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his 5th State of the Nation Address at the House of Representatives Complex in Quezon City on July 27, 2020. (PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / file)

“Mahalagang marinig po natin ang patuloy na pag-aksyon ng gobyerno pagdating sa pagkontrol sa pagkalat ng COVID, ang pagpapalakas ng ating healthcare system at ang pagkalinga sa ating mga healthcare workers sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng sahod at iba pang nararapat na allowances sa tamang oras,” he said.

(It is important to know the government’s actions when it comes to controlling the spread of COVID, strengthening our healthcare system and protecting our healthcare workers by providing salaries and other appropriate allowances at the right time.)

Villanueva stressed that the country’s recovery cannot happen overnight but it should start now and must be sustained by the next administration.

As of July 18, the country has recorded 1,507,755 COVID-19 cases. (47,190 active cases, 1,433,851 recoveries and 26,714 deaths)— Sofia Vertucio trainee

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TAGS: COVID-19, Joel Villaneuva, President Duterte, Sona, virology institute
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