President Marcos lauds health researchers
JERRY M. HERNANDEZ
The Manila Times
PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday acknowledged the heroic deeds, sacrifices, and risks of health researchers across the nation as they strive to keep millions of Filipinos alive during the Covid-19 pandemic. The President made this commendation during the celebration of the 15th Philippine National Health Research System Week at Clark Freeport Zone, saying that the researchers’ works made a lot of contribution to the government’s fight against the virus. Marcos noted that for the first time in the country’s experience, there was a total lack of information and of knowledge about the new pandemic that 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. Marcos also recognized the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the 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 toward 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 experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic,” the Chief Executive explained. Marcos also emphasized 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 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 and 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 working 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 all disasters to mitigate harm and move forward towards recovery and resiliency. He also pledged commitment to support initiatives that will create an enabling environment for the Filipino research community that fosters collaboration and cooperation, and yield solutions that will make lives better for Filipinos. Notably, 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 the country will be more prepared during times of pandemic. In closing, he urged health scientists to continue working together to ensure the safety of the people and have better access to improved health care.