In a bid to scale up mass testing in the country for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Palace announced the availability of four mega swabbing facilities.
In his May 5 media briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. confirmed the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) of the establishment and operation of these mega swabbing facilities.
“Ang apat na mega swabbing facilities po ay sa Enderun Colleges sa Taguig, ang Philippine Arena sa Bulacan, ang Mall of Asia in Pasay, at ang Palacio de Maynila dito po sa syudad ng Maynila,” said Secretary Roque.
These mega swabbing facilities were built through government and private sector collaboration, according to Vivencio Dizon, Deputy Chief Implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, also designated as the Chief Coordinator of the Trace, Treat, Test (T3) Program, who was Secretary Roque’s resource person in today’s media briefing.
Dizon, who is also Bases and Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO, reported that the country now has 22 laboratories as of May 4, 2020, with an additional 56 more being readied to reach the target of 78 laboratories all over the Philippines by the end of May 2020. He added that the daily average of tests currently being done is only 5,000 and the country’s target is to achieve 30,000 tests per day.
Dizon further said that the immediate goal is to test 25,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Overseas Filipinos (OFs) who are currently hosted in various quarantine facilities. This is to decongest said quarantine facilities in order to accommodate more OFWs and OFs in the coming weeks as soon as the ban on inbound flights is lifted.
In the same media briefing, the Palace Spokesman also reiterated President Duterte’s announcement that he will give PhP30,000 to any one who will expose local government officials who will be proven to have misused or corrupted the government subsidy for intended recipients.
“Hindi po sapat na nagsusumbong lamang, kinakailangan magsumite po ng ebidensya dahil ang pabuya po ay dun sa mapapatunayang tama po ang paratang. Hindi lang po magpaparatang, kinakailangang patunayan,” stressed Secretary Roque.
President Duterte’s spokesman also advised those who wish to report any form of corruption surrounding the distribution of the government’s subsidy in this time of the COVID-19 crisis, to properly file their complaints.
“Kinakailangan po gumawa rin ng complaint affidavit. Kung ito po’y isang criminal complaint, i-submit nyo po ang inyong complaint affidavit sa pinakamalapit na istasyon ng pulis o di naman kaya sa NBI. Kung administrative naman pong reklamo, isumite nyo po yan sa pinakamalapit na tanggapan ng DILG. At gaya ng sinabi ng Presidente pwede nyo rin pong itawag sa 8888,” Roque said.
The Cabinet official assured that the whistleblower’s identity will be protected. “As much as possible we will protect your identity and if need be, kung talagang kakasuhan yung tao, makakapasok kayo sa Witness Protection Program ng gobyerno,” said Secretary Roque. ###OPS-PCOO