Palace: RITM no longer PH's sole COVID testing center; faces budget cut | Inquirer News
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Palace: RITM no longer PH’s sole COVID testing center; faces budget cut

By: - Reporter / @KAguilarINQ
/ 03:54 PM September 06, 2021
Malacañang justified the P170-M cut in the proposed budget of the RITM saying it is no longer the country’s sole COVID-19 testing center.

(File Photo) Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque. IMAGE from the PCOO Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines —Malacañang on Monday justified the P170-million cut in the proposed budget of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) saying it is no longer the country’s sole COVID-19 testing center as most of the tests are being conducted by the private sector.

The RITM’s proposed budget for 2022 was slashed by P170 million, from P393 million to P223 million.

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“Pagdating sa testing, hindi lang naman po RITM lang ang nagtetesting. In fact, napakarami na po nating testing. We’re now doing 72,000 tests a day. And ang number of laboratories natin is thousands already, if I’m not mistaken,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing when sought to comment on the matter.

(When it comes to testing, it’s not only the RITM that conducts testing. In fact, we have a lot of laboratories doing testing. We’re now doing 72,000 tests a day and the number of our laboratories is already at thousands, if I’m not mistaken.)

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“I’m sure there are other reasons behind this. Pagdating natin sa testing, we’re now relying almost exclusively, not exclusively naman but to a very large degree, on the private sector,” he added.

(I’m sure there are other reasons behind this. When it comes to testing, we’re now relying almost exclusively on, not exclusively but to a very large degree, on the private sector.)

According to the Department of Health’s website, there are 279 licensed COVID-19 testing laboratories nationwide as of Aug. 31, 2021.

Both Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Nancy Binay have questioned the budget cuts to the RITM, with the latter calling for an increase and expansion of the facility’s budget.

JPV

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TAGS: coronavirus Philippines, COVID tests, COVID-19, COVID-19 Testing, Malacañang, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, RITM
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