MANILA – Malacañang is hopeful that the Department of Health (DOH) will be able to ramp up its coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing capacity to reach a maximum of over 32,000 tests per day.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque acknowledged that while the government has exceeded its maximum testing capacity, the DOH is only able to conduct 8,500 to 9,500 tests per day.
“I’m hoping that the DOH can actually increase the number of tests that are being done,” Roque said in a virtual presser.
Earlier, Roque attributed the enhanced national testing capacity to the “Trace, Test and Treat” or T3 program which targets to ramp up testing capacity by putting up more swabbing centers and laboratory testing centers in strategic parts of the country.
However, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier explained that the 32,000 testing capacity could only be achieved by the country’s laboratories under unhampered conditions.
Among the factors that prevent laboratories from meeting their 32,000 capacity include availability of laboratory supplies in the market, health human resource issues, equipment issues and issues in infrastructure.
Currently, the DOH said the country has a total of 42 licensed laboratories that can perform Covid-19 tests.
The DOH has also identified 17 laboratories that could be licensed in the next two weeks.
Entitled to her opinion
Roque, meanwhile, dismissed detained Senator Leila de Lima’s accusation that T3 czar Vivencio “Vince” Dizon was the “coddler” of an illegal makeshift hospital inside the Fontana Leisure Park in Clark, Pampanga which was recently raided by law enforcers.
“Well, she’s entitled to her opinion especially since she’s under detention,” he said.
De Lima criticized Dizon for his lack of protest against the use of his territory “for the possible mass spreading of the China virus through illegal hospitals using non-FDA [Food and Drug Administration] authorized drugs.”
Dizon is also President and CEO of the Bases and Conversion Development Authority (BCDA).
De Lima also slammed the government for hiding their supposed failure to perform over 30,000 tests per day.
The lady senator supposedly played a key role in the drug proliferation inside the national penitentiary during her stint as Justice secretary.
She has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center at Camp Crame in Quezon City since February 2017. (PNA)