President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. lauded health researchers across the nation for their heroic deeds, sacrifices, and risks that they take to keep millions of Filipinos alive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For the first time in our experience, there was a total lack of information, of knowledge about this new pandemic. This is something that has never been seen before. However, your work to develop genome sequencing so that we could follow, identify, and detect the different strains that came about; and the test kits for the local community is very important. You cannot say you are not frontliners because you were not at the hospital. You were still at the forefront because the information, data, and research you put together was used in the frontlines,” he said during the celebration of the 15th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week.
Marcos also recognized the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of Department of Science and Technology for its coordination and leadership to help ensure that the public can utilize the maximum economic and social benefits that stem from the rapid developments in science and medicine.
He cited that the unparalleled commitment of the health research community towards a healthier and safer future for the nation is laudable, especially in breaking barriers through scientific research, information exchange, and offering help for laboratory use to maximize efforts in responding to the pandemic.
“Because of your coordination and of closely working together, you have brought about that synergy that we have been looking for in terms of the knowledge that we are gaining and the ways that we are developing to mitigate the various problems that have come up during the pandemic. If a similar crisis comes up unfortunately in the future, I think we are better prepared because we have experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic,” The Chief Executive said.
Marcos stressed the importance of intellectual humility demonstrated by the health researchers to effectively navigate through the pandemic, honing their competencies, gaining new insights from fellow practitioners, and remaining open to new knowledge and ideas especially whenever groundbreaking data or new findings debunk usual beliefs.
“We are still at primary research when it comes to the pandemic. We must really be very wary of getting fixed and saying this is what it is because it evolves, it mutates. That is why the openness of mind, the continuing flow of information between all the different agencies have become crucial in our successes,” he added.
The present health crisis, according to Marcos, exposed people’s vulnerability, but at the same time pushed them to devise efficient response mechanisms given the resources they have.
“That is why I believe we must continue to remain open to new ideas and commit to work together. We could resolve these issues by employing cross-sectoral responsive evidence-based systems,” he said.
The President also cited the importance of risk communication in times of pandemic and of all disasters in order to mitigate harm and move forward towards recovery and resiliency.
He also committed to support initiatives that will create an enabling environment for the Filipino research community that foster collaboration and cooperation; and yield solutions that will make lives better for the Filipinos.
Relative to this, Marcos disclosed that he consulted members of Congress about the proposed creation of the country’s virology center and disease control center to better consolidate all disparate research and all different sources of knowledge and new data so that the Philippines will be more prepared during times of pandemic.
In closing, he urged health scientists to continue working together so that people are safer, and have better access to improved health care.
Carrying the theme, “Health Research: Responding to Challenges Towards National Recovery and Resiliency”, the week-long PNHRS celebration serves as a venue for the health research community to share their insights, best practices, and experiences in developing innovative solution to contribute to national recovery towards achieving resilience through health research and development.
It is celebrated every second week of August in accordance with Presidential Proclamation No. 1309 of June 2007. (CLJD/MJSC-PIA 3)