By Sherwin Jakosalem


The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) appealed for an augmentation of their proposed 2022 budget after it was slashed by ₱170-million as it would have an adverse effect on the agency.

"It's from the line item of national reference laboratories, so we have actually appealed this budget cut as part of the DOH package of appeals and it will be very difficult for us to continue addressing this pandemic if this budget cut will be pursued," RITM director Celia Carlos said.

Carlos, the director of the biggest coronavirus disease 2019 testing center, further stated that they have already filed an appeal regarding the budget cut and that they even asked for an augmentation. 

"We have filed an appeal. In fact we have requested an increase for an additional budget for the national reference labs for the coming 2022 budget," she added.

Meanwhile, Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate questioned why the RITM's operating expenses were cut by ₱170-million despite its significant role in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Bakit ang national laboratory na ito ay kaltasan mo ng ₱170 million na tayo ay nasa isang napakatinding krisis nitong pandemya ng COVID na 'to. This is not really acceptable. Naglalagay tayo ng napakalaking pondo sa mga items na puwede pa naman hindi pondohan," Zarate said during the deliberations of the agency's ₱242.22 proposed budget.

Zarate also said that he supports the restoration of the ₱170 million for the national reference laboratory of the Philippines.

Report source: GMA News