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NEWS | Feb. 25, 2024

Friends.Partners.Allies: DTRA Partners with Philippines to Increase Regional Public and Veterinarian Health Capacity

By Darnell Gardner, Defense Threat Reduction Agency

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP) and the Chemical Security and Elimination (CSE) program in partnership with partner-nation, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) held a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony announcing the construction of a National Virtual Training Center (NVTC) on February 21, 2024. Host government officials from the Department of Health, Department of Interior and Local Government along with the Public Safety College and University of the Philippines were in attendance in a show of support for the eight-year partnership with DTRA, and in solidarity with peaceful efforts that aim to counter weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and emerging threats.

In continued partnership with the GPH, the DTRA-designed and -constructed NVTC will provide a platform for the Philippine nation to improve the safety and security of public and veterinary health facilities. This effort will also enhance biosafety, biosecurity, detection of pathogens and chemical security to the country and region by providing a training facility to enhance the training curriciulum of the Philippines. The facility will increase the capacity and capability of trainings across multiple disciplines of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security and counter WMD missions.

“This facility will house a lecture hall for classroom-setting trainings, a practical biolgical diagnostics laboratory classroom for hands-on biosafety and biosecurity trainings, and a virtual reality room equipped with headsets to provide an opportunity to train virtually on a chemical security curriculum,” stated Corey Erff, program manager for this Cooperative Threat Effort.

BTRP and CSE have worked with GPH departments to develop a concept of operations to ensure the facility promotes long-term, sustainable threat reduction efforts. With DTRA completing construction of the NVTC, the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Philippines Public Safety College will take ownership of the facility.

This project, and any future collaboration, is being carried out by the United States in close collaboration with the Philippine government, ensuring strict adherence to Philippine laws. By working together, these projects will continue to ensure the safety and well-being of Filipino citizens.

DTRA provides cross-cutting solutions to enable the Department of Defense, the United States Government, and international partners to Deter strategic attack against the United States and its allies; Prevent, reduce, and counter WMD and emerging threats; and Prevail against WMD-armed adversaries in crisis and conflict.

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