More land allotted for RITM, main PH COVID test center and vax storage
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an order setting aside more government land for the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), one of the major agencies that develops strategies for controlling the spread of infectious diseases and whose role has been made more significant and magnified in the country’s fight against COVID-19.
Proclamation No. 1276, which the President signed on Jan. 6, reserves a 9,000-square-meter portion of the Alabang Stock Farm property in Muntinlupa City for building additional structures for RITM, an attached agency of the Department of Health (DOH). The proclamation precludes that piece of property located in Barangay Alabang from being sold or subjected to other forms of disposition.
Mr. Duterte issued the proclamation upon the recommendation of the secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). “The DENR secretary is hereby authorized to execute a deed of conveyance, transferring the ownership of the above-described property in favor of the DOH-RITM, for building site purposes,” he said.
Since the start of the pandemic, RITM has been serving as the country’s primary center for COVID-19 testing and vaccine storage facility, equipped to handle more than a million doses in ultralow temperatures.
It also conducts research programs for infectious and tropical diseases and develops new diagnostic techniques, and effective and efficient strategies for their control.
It also has been designated as a National Reference Laboratory for dengue, influenza, enteroviruses, measles and other viral exanthems, polio, tuberculosis and other mycobacteria, bacterial enteric diseases, mycology, emerging diseases, malaria and other parasites.
It is also the confirmatory testing laboratory of blood donor units for the National Voluntary Blood Services Program; the coordinating center for antimicrobial resistance surveillance; a provider of the National External Quality Assurance for Bacteriology, Parasitology and Mycobacteriology; and a World Health Organization-recognized National Influenza Center.
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