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De Lima: Gov't testing Filipinos' patience instead of patients

Detained Senator Leila De Lima on Wednesday slammed the Duterte administration after presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that there is no "mass testing" of workers returning to work.

"Rather than testing our patients, the government is testing our patience. Kung ang responsibilidad mo ay hindi mo magawa at ipinapasa mo sa iba, anong tawag sa ‘yo? Inutil," De Lima, a staunch critic of the administration, said in a statement.

Malacanang on Monday said the government will not shoulder the costs of "mass testing" of employees who are returning to work due to limited resources of the government.

"In terms of mass testing na ginagawa ng Wuhan na all 11 million, wala pa pong ganiyang programa at iniiwan natin sa pribadong sektor," Roque said.

This remark did not sit well with De Lima as she pointed out that the business sector is also suffering from the adverse impact of the pandemic.

"Lupaypay na nga ang mga negosyante sa kawalang produksyon at pagkalugi habang nasa lockdown, ipinapapasan pa sa kanila ang dagdag-gastos na ito. Ang lupit nyo!" she said.

De Lima described the lack of mass testing as "nothing more than a collective torture of the Filipino people."

"May emergency powers. May P270 bilyong budget. May US$4.75 bilyong utang mula sa World Bank at Asian Development Bank. Pero walang mass testing. Anyare?” she added.

The Department of Health, on the other hand, has earlier clarified that the government is engaged in "expanded targeted" testing.

It underscored that it is veering away from the term "mass testing" which it described as indiscriminate.

More than 207,000 individuals have undergone the COVID-19 test nationwide, based on the latest data from the DOH's online tracker.

Deputy chief implementer of the national policy against COVID-19 Vince Dizon said the government aims to test two percent of the over 100 million Filipino population.

"The goal is we should be able to build up capacity to test up to 2% of the population, so we are looking at two million people in total," he said.—AOL, GMA News