Senator Bong Go, chair of the Senate Committee on Health, appealed to the government to ensure the availability, accessibility and affordability of Covid-19 testing kits as it has become a fundamental commodity and crucial component in the country’s recovery efforts.
“Palagi rin nating unahin ang kapakanan at buhay ng mga mahihirap at pinaka-nangangailangan ng tulong. Huwag natin sila pabayaan dahil sila ang kailangang makabalik sa normal na pamumuhay upang maiangat ang kabuhayan nila,” he added.
Go signaled an alarm on the increasing disparity on the prices of Covid testing.
The senator cited a recent report from the Department of Health which highlighted that a number of facilities impose additional fees like P20,000 for a test whose result may be known within hours only.
To address these concerns, the Senator asked the government to determine, formulate and implement a standard and equitable price range for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and test kits.
Go proposed that for the DOH and the Department of Trade and Industry be directed in undertaking continuous monitoring and review of the prices of Covid 19 test kits and other basic medical items and supplies.
“Dapat may price control measures. I urge the government and the private sector to prioritize people’s lives over profits. Unahin natin ang serbisyo sa tao,” he emphasized.
Go mentioned that under Republic Act 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act, President Rodrigo Duterte is authorized to take such steps to ensure adequate number of COVID-19 testing centers that provide available, affordable and accessible testing to the public.
Amid the pandemic, Go added that the government may also enforce measures to protect the people from hoarding, profiteering, injurious speculations, manipulation of prices and other pernicious practices affecting the supply, distribution and movement of medicine and medical supplies.