Former Sen. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. on Wednesday asked the government to make Covid19 RT-PCR tests more affordable and readily available to the public as the country tries to jumpstart economic activities amid the surge in coronavirus cases.
Marcos, who himself was struck with Covid19 last year, welcomed the Department of Health's (DoH) recent decision to lower the price ceiling of RT-PCR tests.
"Malaking tulong yung pagpapababa ng price cap ng RT-PCR tests pero sa tingin ko ang mas mahalagang usapin ngayon ay kung paano natin mas gagawing accessible ito para sa mas nakararami. Nagmura nga, eh, nasaan naman?” said Marcos.
The circular released by DoH last August 26 set the price cap for the Covid19 tests from ₱2,450 to ₱2,800 for public laboratories and ₱2,940 to ₱3,360 in private laboratories. For home service, at least ₱1,000 is added to the prevailing prices.
Marcos stressed that as economic activities resume and people's mobility increases, more RT-PCR tests will be required since it is the only universally recognized proof of a person's Covid19 infection status.
Marcos encouraged the LGUs to spearhead efforts in increasing locations where people may avail of the test.
"Ang naiisip nating paraan ay magpakalat ang LGUs ng mga mobile testing centers sa kada barangay upang mas marami ang mabilis na ma-test at para rin maging mas convenient sa mga tao. Maaari rin silang magbigay ng mga diskuwento kung kinakailangan," Marcos added.
Currently, LGUs are providing free RT-PCR tests to their residents with certain restrictions in frequency.
Marcos also encouraged the national government to increase the number of accredited laboratories that can conduct 'Saliva' RT-PCR Test as this would provide an alternative non-invasive option for Filipinos.
"Isa rin sa ating nakikitang paraan upang mapababa ang presyo ng RT-PCR tests ay yung pagdagdag ng accredited laboratories para sa Covid19 Saliva testing. Mas mura ito kaysa sa standard RT-PCR pero accurate rin. Mainam ito at hindi na kailangan ng nasal swabbing na minsan nagdudulot ng discomfort sa mga pasyente," the former senator said.
Currently, only the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) are the only accredited institutions allowed to conduct the test.