Manila, September 17, 2020 – The United States, through the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) continues to support the government and people of the Philippines through a donation of a newly constructed Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RADDL) in the city of Tarlac. The laboratory will conduct surveillance and testing on local agricultural samples from in and around Region III. By maintaining a proactive approach of disease diagnosis, the Philippines increases its capacity to monitor and stop the spread of harmful viruses which have devastated the country in the past.
“This RADDL will benefit the province of Tarlac by leading to the ability for rapid submission of samples and a much quicker diagnosis of potential animal diseases. This lab will also help the province diminish their human rabies cases by means of early diagnosis and post prophylaxis treatment,” said Dr. Joely T. Ongtangco, Chief of RADDL III.
Dr. Ada Bacetty, Chief of DTRA’s Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP), said, “BTRP is proud that our partnership with the Department of Agriculture has resulted in the completion of a new Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. We are confident that this partnership will strengthen the Republic of the Philippines’ ability to detect, diagnose, and report dangerous pathogens affecting the agriculture sector to include priority diseases such as African Swine Fever and Avian Influenza. Since 2016, BTRP has invested approximately $25,000,000 in our robust partnership with the Philippines. Our program has funded the construction of new laboratories across the nation, supported trainings, and provided biorisk management subject matter expertise. These joint efforts improved biosafety and biosecurity practices and will strengthen the Department of Agriculture’s preparedness capabilities to prevent and respond to dangerous diseases and combat the negative impacts on the Filipino people. BTRP values this important relationship with the Republic of the Philippines and looks forward to continuing our partnership on these topics in the years to come.”
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency enables the Department of Defense, the United States Government, and international partners to counter and deter weapons of mass destruction and improvised threat networks. For more information, visit https://www.dtra.mil. For more information on the Biological Threat Reduction Program, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEE4-WuJYRA.