No preferential treatment for COVID-19 testing—DOH | Inquirer News

No preferential treatment for COVID-19 testing—DOH

Filipinos should not take advantage of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the expense of others.

A Malacañang official made this general appeal amid reports that some government officials are demanding special treatment for them to be tested for COVID-19, despite the lack of test kits.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles was initially evasive when asked if there was any directive for government officials to be prioritized for COVID-19, at the expense of patients under investigation (PUIs) who were actually suffering from symptoms.


In a public briefing aired over state-run PTV 4, the spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) said protocols were set by the Research Institute on Tropical Medicine.


Pressed whether the IATF-EID will appeal to government officials and politicians not to seek VIP treatment, Nograles spoke in general terms.

“Maybe we have general rules for that. No one should take advantage of the situation or seek favorable treatment at the expense of others. That’s our message for all Filipinos,” he said.

The reported VIP treatment for government officials has prompted netizens to call for mass testing for COVID-19 to show the real status of infections in the country.

‘National security’ reasons

Nograles admitted that he was not fully aware of the protocols for COVID-19 testing, saying other member-agencies of the IATF-EID were in charge of its implementation.

As it continued to face criticisms over its alleged preferential treatment for top government officials and their families in testing for the COVID-19, the Department of Health invoked “national security” concerns on Monday as the reason why the tests were needed to be done.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the public “must understand” that there were certain persons in government whom they have to “preserve,” hence the need for them to be immediately tested for COVID-19.


“Our countrymen must understand that there are things we do for national security reasons. We do not just test [anyone]. There are people whom we have to test because of national security reasons. We need to preserve high people in government,” Vergeire said in a radio interview.

Meanwhile, nearly 3,000 scientists, organizations and concerned citizens have signed an online petition urging the government to speed up and increase the country’s capacity to test for COVID-19 cases. INQ

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