SENATOR Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Wednesday reiterated his earlier call to have a free mass testing in the wake of the ongoing upsurge of Covid-19 cases in the country.
The lawmaker believes that the spike can be a result of the national government’s decision to loosen restrictions in the past months, which resulted in increased mobility of people.
“We are now seeing another surge of the Covid-19 cases at hindi malayo na dahil ito sa mas mabilis na kumalat na Omicron variant. To better manage the spread of this variant, my position remains the same: free mass testing,” Pangilinan said.
“Napakaraming tao ang may sakit ngayon at dahil flu season, hindi sila sigurado kung may Covid ba sila or wala. Hindi rin sila makapagpa-test sapagkat napakamahal ng RT-PCR sa ating bansa at sino ba ang gustong gumastos ng tatlong libo para lang sa test? We have to encourage our people to get tested and we can only do if Covid testing is free,” he added.
The lawmaker’s newest call for free mass testing came amid an alarming upsurge in new infections after the observance of the holiday season. He made the same call in March 2020 and again in March 2021.
“Nakakabahala na nakapagtala tayo ng 26.2% infection rate base sa 24,855 samples na na-proceso nitong linggo. On Tuesday, there are 5,434 additional cases, the highest number we have since October 23,” Pangilinan said.
“Sa tinatakbo ng active cases, hindi malayong pumalo ulit ng 10,000 cases per day dito sa ating bansa. Let us not wait for this to happen. Kailangang may aksyon kaagad,” he added.
According to Pangilinan, it is not enough to bring the country back to a stricter quarantine restriction without putting in place effective measures that will address the ongoing battle against the deadly virus.
Apart from free mass testing, Pangilinan likewise calls on the government to fast-track the scheduling of booster shots.
“Hindi sapat na kapag mataas ang cases ng Covid ay lockdown lang ang solusyon. Bukod sa ating ekonomiya, mga ordinaryong mamamayan ang nagdurusa at nawawalan ng pagkakakitaan,” Pangilinan lamented.
“Nawa’y pabilisin din ng ating pamahalaan ang pagbibigay ng booster shots sa ating mga kababayan. Makakatulong ito na pababain ang posibilidad ng hospitalization kung mahawa man sila ng virus,” the lawmaker added.
Meanwhile, with the confirmation that some branded paracetamols are out of stock as a result of “increased demand”, Pangilinan urged Filipinos to purchase generic drugs in the meantime.
“There is a confirmation that some branded medicines are out of stock right now because of increased demand. With the colder weather we are facing, it is possible that some of us contract colds and flu,” Pangilinan said.
“Since some over-the-counter branded medicines are currently out of stock, generic drugs should be an alternative. But of course, you need to consult with your doctors first and refrain from self-medicating,” he added.
Pangilinan also called on local manufacturers to hasten the replenishment of these important medicines as the health sector could not afford to have a separate outbreak other than the Covid.