Stressing the urgent need for a national virology center, the heads of Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have agreed to work together for the smooth and immediate completion of the five-hectare Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines (VIP) in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.
In a recent meeting, BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer (PCEO) Aileen An. R. Zosa and DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum, Jr. discussed details on the initial phases of the project, among which are the fencing and construction of an access road and dormitory. The Biosafety Level 3 and 4 laboratory building will be constructed in Phase 3. In contrast, Phase 2 will include the development of the main buildings and laboratories (BSL 1&2) as well as the utilities and support facilities of the site.
“We welcome this development as we are equally excited to work with DOST for this project. Learning from the pandemic, I believe the VIP is a significant step towards advancing the country’s capabilities in managing viruses and viral diseases,” said PCEO Zosa.
The DOST said that the proposed design and structure of buildings for the VIP will follow the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO), and high containment laboratories will undergo international certification before they can commence operations.
The facilities comprising the VIP complex include an administration building, lecture hall, good manufacturing product building, human and animal virology laboratory, plant virology laboratory, animal isolation, Biosafety Level 3 and 4 laboratory building, plant cultivation area, dormitory, power station, and a sewage treatment plant.
BCDA allotted a five-hectare parcel of land at the National Government Administrative Center (NGAC) in New Clark City to house the VIP for a period of 50 years, which may be extended for another 25 years.
The National Government has allocated funds to the Department of Public Works and Highways for the design, site development, and construction of the VIP buildings and facilities. On December 5, 2022, the House of Representatives passed on the third and final reading of House Bill No. 6452, the consolidation of 31 bills that seek for the establishment of a virology institute.
The creation of the Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines is one of the priority projects of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., mentioned during his first State of the Nation Address. Once completed, it will become an attached agency under the DOST.