Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday hit the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) over its sanctions on those refusing the RT-PCR test as Filipinos continue to grapple with the pandemic.
"Pero para kasing laging default 'yung punitive. 'Yung parang laging default 'yung paparusahan. Sa akin, at least sa experience ng OVP (Office of the Vice President), hindi kailangan 'yung paparushan," Robredo said in her weekly radio show.
(It's as if punitive measures are default. It's like the default setting. In the OVP, you don't need to punish.)
She further proposed to DILG to give incentives in case of resistance in swab testing.
"Napakahirap na nga ng buhay ngayon. Kung sana mas mag-exercise ng empathy at mag-intindi kung ano ba dahilan kung bakit may resistance doon," she added.
(These are difficult times. [It would be better] if they would just exercise empathy and understand the reason behind resistance in testing.)
Reports came out that the DILG said those in areas under granular lockdown who are refusing to have swab tests may be meted out with fines ranging from P20,00 to P50,000, or a six-month jail term under Republic Act 11332 (Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act).
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año clarified however that those refusing to take swab tests will have to be in quarantine for 14 days.
“If you will not subject these close contacts to isolation, I mean quarantine, or to mandatory testing, you’re just allowing the virus to spread. If you’re a close contact and you don’t want to be tested, puwede naman ‘yun (that is allowed) but you will remain to be quarantined for 14 days," he said in a report by Lei Alviz on GMA News' Unang Balita on Monday, Sept. 20.
Robredo has been advocating for increased swab testing in the country as some infected may be undetected and untreated.
So far, the Department of Health registered a 26% positivity rate with 73,635 tests conducted. This is far off the World Health Organization target of less than 5%.
The DOH on Saturday reported 23,134 new COVID-19 cases, the second highest daily infections recorded since the start of the pandemic.
This brought the nationwide tally to 2,347,550 and active cases to 184,088.
Total recoveries climbed to 2,126,879 while the death toll reached 36,583. —KG, GMA News