By Othel V. Campos
State-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority and the Department of Science and Technology agreed to expedite the completion of the 5-hectare Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.
“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 BCDA president and chief executive Aileen Zosa.
The BCDA and DOST discussed in a recent meeting the details on the initial phases of the project, which include the fencing and construction of an access road and dormitory.
Phase 2 will include the development of the main buildings and laboratories, as well as the utilities and support facilities of the site.
The biosafety level 3 and 4 laboratory building will be constructed in Phase 3.
The DOST said that the proposed design and structure of buildings for the VIP will follow the guidelines of the World Health Organization, 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 5-hectare parcel of land at the National Government Administrative Center 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 allocated funds to the Department of Public Works and Highways for the design, site development and construction of the VIP buildings and facilities.
The House of Representatives on Dec. 5, 2022 passed on the third and final reading House Bill No. 6452, which consolidates 31 bills that seek for the establishment of a virology institute.
The creation of the VIP is one of the priority projects of the Marcos administration. Once completed, it will become an attached agency of the DOST.