Locally-stranded individuals (LSIs) must first undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for COVID-19 before being allowed to travel back to their home provinces, Iligan City Representative Frederick Siao said Sunday.
In a Dobol B sa News TV interview, Siao proposed that the PCR testing be done at the point or period, in Metro Manila for example, before LSIs were allowed to cross borders.
"Gobyerno ang dapat sumagot sa gastos. Mahal ang PCR testing, alam ko ang presyo is nasa P3,000 to P8,000 kada piraso. Samantala yung PCR test na gawa ng UP scientists ay nasa halagang P2,700 to P3,000 kaya lang hindi pa available," he said.
"So again, we would like to push, sana mapagbigyan ng test, PCR or swab test kung saan sila galing," he added.
According to Siao, many local government units were "ill-equipped" to handle COVID-19 cases in their areas, so it would be better to ensure that LSIs were negative for the disease before being allowed to travel.
He added that he preferred PCR testing than rapid testing at it yielded more accurate results.
"Rather than going through rapid testing, wala namang assurance yun. At least yung PCR swab test ay confirmed talaga na wala ka nung sakit na yun kapag negative," he said.
Upon arrival at their hometowns, LSIs do not need to be quarantined as long as they had tested negative from the PCR testing, Siao added.
"Kapag PCR, dapat pwede ka nang dumiretso sa pamilya mo as long as you follow the health protocol while traveling. Dapat mag-ingat na tayo," he said.
He likewise proposed that a certification that the individual tested negative for COVID-19 after PCR testing be shown to authorities instead of a travel pass from the Philippine National Police when crossing borders.
"We cannot just let this problem go out of hand. Kailangan natin higpitan yung control. Instead of nasa Metro Manila lang yung ground zero, baka mapunta ng buong Pilipinas, yun ang nakakatakot. The provinces don't have the facilities or equipment to take care yung mga malala na ang sakit," Siao said.
"Kapag ma-control yung spread ng disease na yan, at least hindi na affected yung buong bansa natin," he added.
As of July 11, a total of 54,222 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the Philippines, with 1,372 deaths and 14,037 recoveries. — DVM, GMA News