Amid the sudden increase in COVID-19 infections, Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero urged the Department of Health (DOH) to make coronavirus testing comprehensive and cheap.
If not free, to encourage citizens to undergo test as an effective way to control the spread of the disease.
Escudero said many Filipinos are simply avoiding having to test themselves because of the high price of the tests.
“Covid testing must be free or cheap for ordinary people”
The DOH itself has set the price of antigen tests as high as P980, while P2,800 for the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction or RT-PCR tests in government laboratories, and P3,360 in private.
“The Government should make RT-PCR testing accessible, readily available and most of all, free to encourage people to get tested,” Escudero said.
“The price of each antigen or RT-PCR test is too expensive for ordinary Filipinos if they have to pay for it themselves, so our government should be able to make it free for all COVID tests.”
“We have been in a pandemic for two years. Perhaps this is the opportunity for us to provide the people with the most basic weapon, but a very important weapon, to fight the virus, the Government owes a trillion pesos to stop this health crisis, ”said the veteran senator who is running for the Senate in the May 2022 national elections.
“More funds for testing”
According to official figures from the Department of Finance, the Government already owes P1.15 trillion as of December 2021 for the war on pandemic.
The former senator said the DOH should allocate more funds for the purchase of COVID testing kits and as a financing for laboratory costs.
“Not every local government unit, especially the small and poor, can afford to take antigen or PCR tests. It needs the support of the national government to finance it, ”Escudero explained.