Press Release
April 6, 2021

Bong Go lauds initiative to capacitate PH to eventually produce or locally manufacture vaccines

To aid in the country's fight against future pandemics, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go has expressed his support for the establishment of a virology institute which will eventually enable the country to develop and manufacture its own vaccines against diseases, such as COVID-19, in the future.

"Ako naman po ay pabor naman po ako dahil 'di natin masabi kung may pandemya pa na darating sa buhay natin. So mabuti na po na maging proactive tayo. Someday, magkaroon sana tayo ng sariling vaccine manufacturer sa bansa," Go said in an interview on Monday, April 5.

Lamenting the hardships government authorities need to go through to procure vaccines for the country from the global market, Go hopes for the proposed institute to eventually capacitate the country to develop and manufacture its own vaccines.

"Pag-aralan natin ang posibilidad na magkaroon ng sariling kapasidad na mag-develop, produce, at manufacture dahil sa nangyari po ngayon, 'take it or leave it' tayo. Kung 'di tayo sumunod sa kanilang agreement ay di tayo mabibigyan ng bakuna. Halos nagmamakaawa pa tayo," Go said.

"Naaawa na nga po ako sa mga kasamahan natin sa gobyerno na halos walang tulog para bigyan lang tayo ng bakuna. Ginagawa naman po ng gobynero ang lahat sa abot ng makakaya para makakuha ng bakuna. Sabi ko, panahon na rin na magkaroon tayo nito para handa na tayo kung ano pang pandemya ang dumating," he added.

The Senator envisions the proposed institute to create strategic partnerships with other leading virology centers, institutes and scientists and conduct innovative research that will advance the country's progress and development in the field of virology.

These researches could eventually be adopted by concerned government agencies, private entities, and the academe to guide them in developing policies, implementing action plans, and managing medical resources during health crises.

The government has already allocated an amount of PhP50 million in the 2021 General Appropriations Act for the detailed engineering design of the virology institute which is planned to be built in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac. The institute project is one of the projects included in the government's Build! Build! Build! infrastructure program.

Measures have also been introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives to institutionalize the proposed virology research.

In the meantime, Go urged the government to invest in building local manufacturing capabilities to eventually veer away from the country's reliance on the international market for vaccines.

"Napakalaki po ng potensyal ng ating bansa na mag-produce ng sarili nating mga gamot at bakuna laban sa samu't saring mga sakit. Napapanahon na po upang pag-aralan natin kung papaano tayo magiging self-reliant pagdating sa aspetong ito," reiterated Go in previous statements.

The Senator also asked the Department of Science and Technology, with the help of health experts, local pharmaceutical companies, the private sector, as well as those from the academe, to engage with international vaccine producers so that the government could immediately start locally manufacturing much needed COVID-19 vaccines.

"This initiative will not only boost our local vaccine supply, but can also help increase production of vaccines in the world market in the future," Go pointed out.

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