The proposed executive order that will impose a price cap for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) swab tests is awaiting President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte may sign the order after it is reviewed by the Office of the Executive Secretary and Department of Health (DOH).
“I cannot preempt the decision of the President. But what I can assure you is, natapos na po iyong responsibilidad ng [technical working group] ng DOH, tapos na rin po ang paperwork sa Office of the Executive Secretary, at ngayon po ay nag-aantay na lang ng pirma ng ating Presidente (the TWG of the DOH has finished its responsibilities, the Office of the Executive Secretary has also finished its paperwork and now it is awaiting the President’s signature),” he said in a press briefing in Bohol.
Roque expressed optimism that the President will sign the EO that regulates the prices of Covid-19 tests.
“From all indications, mukha naman pong magkakaroon ng price cap (it looks like there will be a price cap),” he added.
Roque said some private laboratories charge expensive fees for Covid-19 tests when it would only cost about PHP1,500 to PHP2,000 if done by private-led Project Ark.
He said making Covid-19 test “more affordable” would improve the government’s efforts to test, trace, treat more Filipinos.
“Sa ganoong paraan ay mas marami pong mati-testing dahil importante po iyan sa ating istratehiya dahil kung walang testing, hindi natin alam kung sino ang ia-isolate at kung sino ang gagamutin (This way, more people will be tested because it is important for our strategy because if there’s no testing, we won’t know who to isolate and treat),” he said.
Last month, the DOH submitted to the Office of the President a recommendation for the issuance of an EO that imposes a ceiling on the prices of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR test).
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat also appealed for a price cap on the RT-PCR and antigen tests to promote domestic tourism, which in turn can generate employment and stimulate economic recovery.
To date, hospitals and health facilities that provide low-priced RT-PCR tests ranging from PHP1,750 to PHP2,000 are:
Philippine Children Medical Center (2 PCR machines, 2 extractor machines);
Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital (1 PCR machine, 2 extractor machines);
Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital (1 PCR machine, 2 extractor machines);
Perpetual Help Medical Center – Las Piñas (2 PCR machines, 2 extractor machines);
National Kidney and Transplant Institute (1 extractor machine);
Lung Center of the Philippines (2 extractor machines);
Western Visayas Medical Center – Iloilo (1 PCR machine, 1 extractor machine);
Vicente Sotto Memorial medical City – Cebu (1 extractor machine);
University of Cebu Medical Center – Cebu (1 extractor machine);
Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center – Tacloban, Leyte (1 extractor machine);
Baguio General Hospital (1 PCR machine);
Zamboanga City Medical Center (1 PCR machine);
Paul’s Hospital – Tacloban, Leyte (1 extractor machine);
Teresita Jalandoni Provincial General Hospital – Negros Occidental (1 PCR machine); and
Cebu Molecular Laboratory (1 PCR machine).
Currently, the prices of RT-PCR testing vary in each facility.
Roque, meanwhile, warned Filipinos against purchasing supposed Covid-19 vaccines that are not registered under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the Philippines.
“Bawal po iyan. Mayroon pong ipinapataw na parusa sa kahit sinong magbebenta ng gamot o bakuna na hindi po aprubado ng FDA. Mayroon pong kulong iyan, itigil ninyo po iyan (That’s illegal. There will be penalties imposed on whoever would sell medicine or vaccines not approved by the FDA),” he said.
Source: Philippines News Agency