Concepcion: ‘I apologize if my words were perceived to criticize doctors in general’
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion on Wednesday apologized for his pronouncements that seemingly criticized all doctors when he defended the use of rapid test kits for returning employees following the resumption of several businesses.
“First of all, I would like to put on record that I have nothing but the utmost gratitude and admiration for the doctors and frontliners who continue to do a great service for our country during this crisis,” Concepcion said in a statement.
“I apologize if my words were perceived to criticize doctors in general. I hope we will be united in our efforts. With this, I extend my deepest thanks to all frontliners that continue to go beyond the call of duty for our people. We can and we will heal as one,” he added.
During the televised Laging Handa briefing earlier Wednesday, Concepcion slammed doctors who were “complaining” about the use of rapid test kits and said they should instead suggest a better alternative.
A group of doctors and medical society groups thumbed down the use of rapid test kits for returning employees as some areas transition to modified enhanced community quarantine, asserting that it creates a “false sense of security.”
But Concepcion reasoned that employees cannot undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests in laboratories given the country’s limited capacity.
“This virus has brought a devastating blow to the physical and financial health of our nation. And we must work together to save both,” Concepcion said.
“We are at war with a common enemy and need to use everything in our arsenal to fight it. My goal in setting up Project Ark is to make all tests affordable and accessible to every Filipino.”
“Through the tireless work of our private donors and medical volunteers, we were able to bring down the cost of rapid test kits by more than 50%. We hope to do the same for RT-PCR [real-time polymerase chain reaction]. This will greatly help augment government efforts in increasing the testing capacity of our country,” he further said.
Project ARK (antibody rapid test kits), an initiative of the private sector spearheaded by Concepcion, has been ramping up the testing of workers in private companies.
The Department of Health (DOH), however, said employees are not required to undergo a coronavirus test prior to returning to work unless they have symptoms or were exposed to a COVID-19 patient.
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