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Imee Marcos' claims misleading, downplays RITM achievements — report

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) had flourished in past administrations, contrary to Senator Imee Marcos' claim, a report said Saturday.
According to online news organization Vera Files, a press release by Marcos for her bill, Senate Bill (SB) 1407, claimed that RITM was treated as a "leper" by President Cory Aquino's Administration because it was built by her father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

"Instead of being treated as a 'leper,' RITM, in fact, continued to thrive under the Corazon Aquino administration," authors Miguel Reyes and Joel Ariete said.

"According to Dr. Mediadora Saniel, former director of RITM, in the institute’s 1990 annual report, that year was RITM's 'most productive year,' getting 'the largest total research funding the Institute has ever obtained in any single year'," they added.

The report clarified that RITM was already in construction before the late dictator issued Executive Order No. 674, which Marcos claimed it was built through.

RITM also reportedly received a P5 million increase in its budget in comparison to what it received during the last year of Marcos Sr.'s rule.

The institute's 1992 annual report also showed that it continued to receive millions in research funding through the New Tropical Medicine Foundation, Inc.

"In short, Imee Marcos’ claim that the current difficulties of RITM are due to decades of neglect is not only disinformation, it also downplays the numerous achievements of RITM and its dedicated staff over the years," it said.

She also downplayed the support the institute received from the Philippine Government and other agencies after the Marcos dictatorship.

The bill -- An Act Expanding the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, and for Other Purposes -- was also "meant to portray her and her late father as the only politicians who have shown support for RITM."

"Marcos has filed Senate Bill 1407 to rescue what is arguably the DOH's most neglected agency from its decrepit state, increase its qualified personnel and their salaries, expand its presence to key population centers outside Metro Manila, and revive its ability to effectively handle the magnitude of future pandemics," the report read.

Reyes and Ariete, however, pointed out that SB 1407 was the first bill the senator filed specifically about RITM from 1998 to 2004. — DVM, GMA News