Legarda renews calls for mandatory free mass COVID testing | Inquirer News
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Legarda renews calls for mandatory free mass COVID testing

By: - Contributor / @inquirerdotnet
/ 02:44 PM January 21, 2022

Former Senator and House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Former Sen. Loren Legarda reiterated her call for free mass testing nationwide in an effort to strengthen the country’s COVID-19 response.

Legarda, who is running for a senatorial seat this coming May elections, pressed for the enactment of House Bill No. 6864, otherwise known as the “Better Normal Bill,” which aims to provide free testing amid the rising number of COVID cases.

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The bill, which she co-authored and principally sponsored, also mandates local government units (LGUs) considered “critical zones” for COVID-19 to put up testing centers and procure COVID-19 test kits and protective measures equipment.

“Ang intensyon po ng probisyon na ito ay makapagbigay ng libreng testing sa ating mga mamamayan sa pamamagitan ng pagpapalawak ng ating testing centers at pag-procure ng test kits kaya tiniyak po nating maisama ito sa panukalang batas noong ipinasa natin ito sa Kongreso,” Legarda said.

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(This provision intends to provide free testing to our people by expanding our testing centers and procuring test kits, that is why we made sure to include this in the bill when we passed it in Congress.)

Education Secretary Leonor Briones with former Sen. Loren Legarda. FILE PHOTO

The measure will also mandate the installation of drive-thru testing centers nationwide and other contactless testing modes.

The House Deputy Speaker, who represents Antique also said that by utilizing the provincial government’s budget, they were able to establish a molecular laboratory to process COVID-19 RT-PCR tests in her home province.

“Antiqueños now need not go to neighboring provinces of Iloilo or Aklan to do their RT-PCR tests, and this minimizes the need for people to travel, thus mitigating the risk of people being exposed to the virus or even being infected,” Legarda said

“Kung ito po (Better Normal Bill) ay maisabatas na, magiging mandatory at readily available na po ang free testing,” Legarda added.

(If Better Normal Bill is enacted, free testing will soon be mandatory and readily available.)

The House of Representatives passed House Bill 6864 on August 10, 2020, and is now pending in the Senate for approval.

JPV

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