PHL’s virology center to rise in New Clark City

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The government has approved the establishment of a virology center as part of the flagship program of the Duterte administration.

In a joint Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) press conference Thursday, Presidential Adviser for Flagship Programs and Projects Vivencio Dizon said the Philippines’ virology institute will be located in New Clark City.

New Clark City is a project of Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), which Dizon is the president and chief executive officer, aimed to be the country’s first smart, green, and resilient city.

“We have added a major health project, the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines, which will do primarily research for infectious diseases,” Dizon said, adding this will be in cooperation with the Department of Science and Technology.

He added the economic development cluster, as well as the National Economic and Development Authority Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure, already approved the inclusion of the project as part of the flagship program under the administration’s Build, Build, Build program.

“Resiliency was the major characteristic that we wanted in the New Clark City to become, and the pandemic just highlighted that. And the use of facilities over the past couple of months in major response efforts is our testament through the importance of forward-looking planning and focus on resiliency,” Dizon said.

Build Build Build revamp

The presidential adviser said the government has revamped its Build, Build, Build program, which now includes a total of 92 flagship projects amounting roughly PHP4.1 trillion.

Thirteen of the 92 projects are newly added projects that will respond to the post-pandemic needs of the country.

These projects are LTO Central Command Center, Motor Vehicle Recognition and Enhancement System, National Broadband Program, and ICT Capacity Development and Management Program in the information and communications technology sector; and the Water District Development Sector Projects, the National Irrigation Sector Rehabilitation and Improvement Project, the Balog-Balog Multipurpose Project Phase II in Tarlac, the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project-Stage II in Iloilo, and the Lower Agno River Irrigation System Improvement Project in Pangasinan in the water sector.

Three projects are in transportation and mobility, which include Metro Manila Logistics Network composed of Pasig River and Manggahan Floodway Bridges Construction Project, NLEX Harbor Link Extension to Anda Circle, and the General Santos Airport.

The virology center in New Clark City is the first one to be approved in the health sector with more projects from the Department of Health that are pending for approval.

“We aim to implement these projects and start them within the President’s term. All projects will be started by 2022,” Dizon said.

Meanwhile, eight projects that were previously included in the infrastructure flagship projects of the administration were already abandoned and were replaced with projects that are ready to go that are responsive to the needs post-Covid-19, he said.

“We have reprioritized our Build, Build, Build program and especially our infrastructure flagship program, which is the major component of Build, Build, Build, using the criteria of ensuring there is a fiscal space, ensuring project readiness and implementation,” he said.

“And of course, we have to consider (the) economic growth and impact of all these projects. And we will also be adding new projects that will address issues that have been brought about by our experience in Covid-19 pandemic, prioritizing health and digital economy projects,” the official added. PNA.GOV.PH