Senator Leila de Lima wants Senate to investigate the “real status” of coronavirus mass testing in the Philippines to determine and address issues that “impede the progress” of the government’s COVID-19 response.
De Lima emphasized the need to identify the reason “why we are still way behind on testing, in spite of already months of intensified government efforts against COVID-19” in Senate Resolution No. 425 that she filed.
“More than lockdowns and quarantine, it has been proven in many countries that testing is the first step towards controlling the transmission of COVID-19,” she said.
“The lack of effective mass testing has effectively hampered our ability to control the spread of the virus by denying us leads for contact tracing, which, in turn, prevents us from isolating and containing the infected individuals,” she added.
The detained senator also noted, “the initial scope of the mass testing should have been slowly expanding at this point given that there are recent discoveries of numerous asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in the country.”
Coronavirus testing in the Philippines
De Lima said that as of May 12, the government only tested 137,055 individuals out of the more 100 million of Philippines’ population even after two months of lockdown.
She also emphasized that COVID-19 related deaths reports are not being “properly accounted for because some persons had already died before the testing was done.”
“According to a report, there exists no national total of how many Filipinos have died of circumstances that resemble COVID-19 but were never confirmed by lab testing. Even the DOH’s COVID-19 Tracker only counts the deaths of confirmed cases,” she said.
The senator earlier called the government futile for not providing COVID-19 mass testing to the public.
“Rather than testing our patients, the government is testing our patience. Kung ang responsibilidad mo ay hindi mo magawa at ipinapasa mo sa iba, anong tawag sa ‘yo? Inutil,” De Lima said in a statement.
(If you can’t do your responsibility and you are handing it to someone else, what are you? You’re futile!)
The government aimed to test said 1.5 to 2 percent of the population, which is equivalent to 1,650,000 to 2,200,000 Filipinos.
According to the DOH COVID-19 tracker, 340,994 cumulative samples have been tested as of May 29.