RITM joins ASEAN states in BWC regional workshop
In photo: Philippine delegation with the BWC-ISU, EU centers of Excellence rep, ASEAN rep, and resource persons

RITM Laboratory Operations Head Edson Michael Simon participated in the “Preparedness to Respond to the Deliberate Use of Biological Weapons” regional workshop under the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) held last June 6-7, 2019 at Bangkok, Thailand.

Simon is one of the four representatives of the country to attend the convention along with other ASEAN states. “The ASEAN Member states have an established capability to respond to disease outbreaks owing to the experiences gained from previous health events. There is, however, a lot of work that needs to be done to enhance the cooperation within the ASEAN region in responding to Biological Security Threats,” said Simon.

According to the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), BWC is the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the production of an entire category of weapons. BWC effectively prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons and is a key element in the international community’s efforts to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

RITM has undertaken initiatives that supports the implementation of BWC in the areas of biosafety and biosecurity, disease surveillance, and emergency response. It conducted capacity-building interventions for its Special Pathogens Laboratory for testing emerging dangerous pathogens; Surveillance and Response Unit for capacitating regional surveillance units to conduct outbreak investigation; Biorisk Management Office for strengthening biosafety and biosecurity practices across the country; and Health Emergency Management Office for the integration of the Biological Emergency Response Group of RITM.

“RITM, as the National Reference Laboratory for Emerging and Re-emerging Diseases with twelve (12) infectious disease National Reference Laboratories, should take the lead in building the country’s laboratory capability to predict, detect, and respond to biological threats,” ended Simon. 

by Allenor Enciso, Communication and Engagement Office