From 1988 to 2000, the ARSRL functioned with the ARSP chair and laboratory director or 1 or 2 laboratory staff “borrowed” or reassigned to ARSP from other departments of the RITM and 9 contractual staff paid for from external grants.

In order to effectively carry-out its mandate, 10 new permanent plantilla positions were worked out with the overwhelming support provided by then Undersecretary Antonio Lopez, to be created to man the ARSP NRL and, eventually, a staff complement of 10 laboratory and 6 data management and support staff comprised the newly created ARS-NRL.

In November 14, 2000, the Department of Health issued Department Order No. 393 s. 2000 creating the National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) of the Philippines which included the Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Reference Laboratory to be housed in the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.