DILG says calls for ‘proactive’ mass testing an ‘obvious propaganda stunt’
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday dismissed as an “obvious propaganda stunt” the Citizens Urgent Response to End COVID-19’s request for government to conduct “proactive” mass testing.
“We thank the Supreme Court for dismissing this obvious propaganda stunt because it is not only impractical, it has no logic whatsoever. COVID testing is a medical procedure and therefore it must be governed by science and not by hashtags,” DILG spokesman and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a statement on Thursday.
The Supreme Court dismissed the group’s mandamus petition calling for “proactive and efficient” mass testing as well as contact tracing to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Supreme Court, the government is not compelled to conduct mass testing because there is no existing law requiring them to do so.
With this development, Malaya said there is no need to conduct mass testing because the government has a “comprehensive COVID-19 testing program in place.”
The existing Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) protocols provided free testing for medical workers, close contacts of COVID-19-infected persons, and those with symptoms upon validation by health professionals, Malaya pointed out.
Malaya also said that as for the Department of Health Memorandum 2020-0151, those most at risk for COVID-19 are prioritized for expanded testing.
He further noted that the two priority sub-groups are “patients or healthcare workers with severe or critical symptoms and history of travel or exposure, and patients or healthcare workers with mild symptoms, relevant history of travel or exposure, and considered vulnerable.”
As of September 26, the Philippines has a total of 272,934 confirmed cases of COVID-19. This includes 207,858 recoveries and 4,732 deaths.
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