HEALTH workers of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on Friday, November 18, 2022, expressed concern over the possibility of the health research facility being abolished once the creation of the Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control (PCDC) is approved.

In a statement, the RITM Employees Association said there are growing concerns among its members over their fate once the bill creating the PCDC is signed into law.

“The creation of PCDC will result in widespread displacement, mass layoff, and streamlining of health workers of RITM,” said RITM Employees Association President Romeo Garcia.

“With the PCDC house bills, there is no clear provision that health workers will be absorbed or transferred. What will happen to us health workers then?” he asked.

Garcia was seconded by the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW), which said the abolition of the RITM will not augur well for the general public.

This, according to AHW President Robert Mendoza, is because the creation of the PCDC will be under the scheme of public-private-partnership (PPP).

“Health services for the people will be compromised since PCDC’s creation is not fully publicly funded,” he noted.

“The abolition of RITM means deprivation of health services to patients with tropical and infectious diseases. Where will the poor patients go?” asked Mendoza.

The bill seeking the establishment of a Philippine CDC (PCDC) is one of the priority measures of the Marcos administration and the 19th Congress.

Under the proposed measure, several agencies attached to the Department of Health, such as the Epidemiology Bureau, RITM, STD-Aids Cooperative Central Laboratory, and the Passive International Health Surveillance and Development of Communication Methods will be all under PCDC. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)