The chief of the Presidential Security Group is wondering why the Covid-19 tests conducted by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) among PSG personnel turned out to be “false positives.”
This, after President Rodrigo Duterte said in a September 20 public address that there were many cases of false-positive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests conducted by PRC laboratories.
He said that 187 out of 213 of the PSG personnel tested positive in the PRC-Manila laboratory but tested negative in their confirmatory test.
Duterte then urged the Department of Health (DOH) to look into the matter because this could put more people at risk.
PSG Chief, Col. Randolph Cabangbang on Wednesday said that while he is not in the position to question the PRC’s Covid-19 testing, he said that it would be difficult to believe how a huge number of their personnel tested positive when they were not showing any symptoms.
“We are not in the position to question how it happened because we do not know the technical aspect of their testing. But because they said there were many positives and for me, it will be more difficult for us to just accept that there a lot. So, we decided to under another swab test) only to find out negative,” he said in an interview with reporters partly in Filipino.
He said having to require that many PSG personnel undergo quarantine was also out of the question.
“Because if you test positive, you’ll be tied up. But in our case it is very difficult and it cannot happen because if 180 personnel are positive, you’re doing to quarantine times three. So that will mean you’ll run out of people. You can’t use anyone for security. We cannot just accept that,” he added partly in Filipino.
PRC Chairperson and Senator Richard Gordon said the humanitarian organization is open for an investigation as they have always submitted test results to DOH and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
He said the PRC even developed a computer program that would make the transmission of data faster.
Meanwhile, Cabangbang said all PSG personnel, especially those who have to approach the President, undergo antigen testing daily and RT-PCR testing every 48 hours.
To further ensure the President’s safety, he said they are also observing minimum public health standards such as wearing face masks, hand washing, and physical distancing.