Malacañang on Tuesday took pride in the country’s COVID-19 testing policy, calling it the “best” in Asia.
Testing is essential for tracking infected persons to stop the further spread of the virus. As of Monday, the Philippines has tested 2.92 million individuals. Of this number, 265,888 are confirmed cases.
“Lubus-lubusan na po iyan doon sa sinasabi nilang 3% na dapat na ma-test ang population at patuloy pa po tayo. That’s clearly our biggest strength,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a news conference.
“We clearly have the best testing policy in the whole of Asia and probably in the whole world.”
Roque said he would give a “very good” grade for the country’s pandemic response as he maintained that the Philippines, through policies such as lockdowns, prevented up to 3.5 million infections based on projections from experts.
He also said the country’s COVID-19 mortality rate is only 1.7% and the healthcare system has so far not been overwhelmed by coronavirus cases.
“All in all, I think we deserve a very good grade. I would give it a grade of 85%,” Roque said, adding the Philippines’ contact tracing efforts need to be improved.
Roque also belied claims that health experts had not been consulted in the crafting of policies to fight COVID-19.
“Wala pong katotohanan iyan,” he said. “Ang DOH [Department of Health] pa rin po ang tumatayong lead agency sa IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases], pinangungunahan po ng isang doktor, si Dr. [Francisco] Duque [III].”
There have been calls for President Rodrigo Duterte to replace Duque over allegations of incompetence and supposed anomalies under his watch. Duterte, however, rejected such calls and even told Duque not to quit his post. — RSJ, GMA News