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Office of the President assures funding for COVID-19 test kits


There are sufficient funds to provide for the production of test kits for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as this will be provided for by the Office of the President (OP), Malacañang said Sunday.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the OP will provide the funds needed by the Departments of Health (DOH), Science and Technology (DOST) and University of the Philippines Manila.

"We wish to assure our countrymen that the Office of the President is providing the needed funds of the DOH, DOST and UP Manila’s National Institutes of Health in the production of the diagnostic kits for the COVID 19 tests," he said.

For the meantime, Malacañang said Manila Healthtek is prepared to produce more to respond to the "present crisis."

The OP, under the 2020 general appropriations act (GAA), was allocated a budget of P8.201 billion this year, of which over 80% will go to maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE).

"We urge the public to be wary of false narratives being circulated in the social media that the national government is short of funds to address the national health emergency thereby creating apprehension and panic among the populace," said Panelo.

"We assure our people that we are prepared to use to the fullest the resources of the government to arrest the spread of the disease and secure the safety and health of the citizenry," he added.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III was earlier reported to have said that the Philippines is in discussions to secure a loan package with multilateral agencies.

On Saturday, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said it approved a $3-million grant to support the Philippine government's effort to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Over 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported across the country so far.

"We appeal to everyone to observe strictly the protocols espoused by the IATF on personal hygiene and social distancing that we may protect each other from being potential carrier and transmitter of COVID-19," said Panelo. —Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/JST, GMA News