Malacañang on Tuesday said the government is planning to test 1.5 to 2 percent of the entire population to get a clear picture of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the Philippines.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque insisted that no other country has done 100% testing on its entire population. This statement was made after an outcry from the public on the government’s lack of plan for mass testing.
“It’s not accurate to say that we don’t have the mass testing policy. Number one, no country in the world tests every citizen, that’s a fact. So what we are doing is we’re trying to follow the best examples that we have and right now we’re trying to follow the footsteps of South Korea; and that is why the goal is to test 1.5 to 2 percent of the total population,” Roque explained.
He further clarified the government’s stance in COVID-19 testing, bringing the term ‘targeted testing’ into mainstream use.
“From the very beginning we have had a systematic policy of expanded targeted testing at sa tingin po natin ang sinusunod lang natin (and I think what we follow) is benchmark recognized internationally specifically by the World Health Organization,” he said.
As Metro Manila is the center of the virus outbreak, Roque said that the government targets to test 10% of its population.
The spokesperson also defended his remark about leaving the mass testing to the private sector to boost the country’s testing capacity and said it was “taken out of context”.
“I said that the protocols of the DOH does not require Covid testing as a prerequisite to go back to work, but it doesn’t mean that if the employers want to test them, they’re prevented from doing so,” he said.
“Ang ginagawa po ng private sector, sinu-supplementa nila e. Hindi namin tina-transfer yung responsibility (What the private sector is doing is they’re supplementing the government’s testing capacity. We’re not transferring the responsibility),” he said, explaining his statement further.
CNN Philippines then released a statement maintaining their stand on the story they published about Roque’s remarks on leaving mass testing efforts to the private sector.