“Mass testing now!” – Pamalakaya
Manila, Philippines – As the number of confirmed cases infected with the COVID-19 and number of persons under monitoring (PUM) continue to increase, the fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) reiterated its call for the urgent “mass testing” as concrete measure in quelling the epidemic in the country.
“Panawagan namin sa DOH na gawin na nitong patakaran ang mass testing, partikular sa mga persons under monitoring at sa mga komunidad at mga sektor na potensyal na mabiktima ng epidemya. Umuulit na naman sila ng pagiging mabagal sa mga kongkretong hakbang para harapin ang krisis na ito,” Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap, Pamalakaya National Chairperson, said in a press statement.
Based on the World Health Organization Situation Report 11 for the country dated March 28, confirmed cases reached 1,075, deaths 68, persons under investigation 804, and persons under monitoring at 6,321. This is amid the Department of Health’s pronouncement on the testing capacity: Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), 900 to 1,000 tests; the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center and the Southern Philippines Medical Center at 80 to 160 tests. RITM processed 2,147 of over 4,000 specimens as March 26. RITM results are usually out after 5 to 7 days.
“Dapat kagyat na ma-test ang mga PUM, mga nasa paligid nila, at mga sumunod pa, para kongkretong hanapin ang na-infect at maagapan ang pagpapagamot. Huwag nang antayin ng DOH na lumala pa ang mga simtomas bago sila gamutin,” Hicap said.
PUMs are those who have a travel history and history of exposure to a patient based on the DOH’s decision tool as of March 16. The agency directs them to a 14-day home quarantine. The confirmed cases to PUM ratio is near 6 and PUI to PUM is near 8, thus, applying same ratios to estimate the number of probable target for mass testing would reach to 37,000 to 50,000 persons.
Moreover, the group urged the DOH to seriously follow up the Emergency Use Assessment and Listing in the World Health Organization (WHO) of the test kit developed by experts at the University of the Philippines National Institute of Health (UP NIH). It costs P1,320 or six times cheaper than imported counterparts.
“Instrumental ang gawang Pinoy na testing kit para maresolba ang epidemya. Kahit pa tapatan natin ang mahigit 300,000 na bilang ng testing ng South Korea, papalo ang gastusin rito nang wala pang kalahating bilyong piso, samantalang, bilyun-bilyong piso ang pinagbabanggit sa mga palabok na plano ng rehimeng Duterte. Nagyayabang ang rehimen na may budget, kung gayon dapat itong gamitin sa pambansa at demokratikong interes ng mamamayang Pilipino, at huwag gawing pangunahing usapin ang paghingi ng donasyon o pag-angkat mula sa ibang bansa,” Hicap stressed.
Finally, he briefed that while our health sector workers and experts are pushing beyond their limits to treat patients, and the citizenry already launching the true “bayanihan” spirit, the least the Duterte government could carry out is to craft a sound and transparent, medical response program, contrary to its National Action Plan, whose ringleader are composed of fascist former military officials.
“Kalokohan ang National Action Plan ni Duterte. Mga lead officials pa lang nito, tinamaan na ng COVID-19, kaya paano pa ito mamumuno. Tulad lang sa isang gera na hindi pa nag-uumpisa, tinamaan na sila at nagtawag na ng medic. Solusyong medikal ang kailangan ng mamamayan, hindi pasista at militaristang mga pakana,” he ended. ###