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Binay, Marcos scold DOH for only having 2K COVID-19 testing kits on hand

/ 01:27 PM March 09, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Two senators on Monday scolded health officials over the lack of testing kits available in the country amid the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

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It was Senator Nancy Binay, during Monday’s Senate economic affairs hearing on the impact risk assessment of COVID-19, who asked health officials about the number of testing kits available.

“As we speak today, our stock on hand is good for 2,000 tests,” Dr. Rossana Ditangco from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) told the Senate economic affairs committee.

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Binay followed up on her question and asked if there are plans to procure additional testing kits.

Ditangco said RITM is requesting for P43 million for the procurement of testing kits and other “various needs.”

“Yun na nga ang problema, kas lagi kayong nagpo-procure ng various needs, pero yung frontline na testing kit, wala pala, ano naman ang paggagamitan ng budget na yan?” Senator Imee Marcos, chair of the committee, then asked.

She then requested that a breakdown of their P43-million request be submitted to her committee.

At this point, Binay lamented the lack of testing kits currently available in the country.

“So ilang testing kits lang yung pwede natin ma-procure out of that P43 million? Because I’m really concerned cause I am a parent of four kids. At napakahalaga na naguumpisa sa testing kit e, kung hindi tayo magtetest, hindi natin malalaman kung gano kalala yung problema natin,” Binay stressed

“I don’t want to panic, but you’re making me panic. Kasi yung naririnig namin ngayon is parang hind niyo pinaghandaan na magkakaroon tayo ng local transmission na mismong si (Health) Secretary Duque na yung nagsasabi na it’s just a question of when na padating to and then maririnig namin yon na we only have 2,000 testing kits out of 100 million population, ‘di ba parang hindi ba nakakatakot?” she added.

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The Philippines has so far confirmed 10 positive cases of COVID-19.

President Rodrigo Duterte has already declared a state of public health emergency following the recommendation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Duque said the declaration of a state of public health emergency will “facilitate mobilization of resources, ease processes, including procurement of critical logistics and supplies, and intensifying reporting.”

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