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Castelo tells DOH, RITM to double check test results, info before public release: If you’re not credible, who do we believe?

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Quezon City Rep. Precious Castelo has scored the Department of Health (DOH) for allegedly being the source of false and conflicting information over the weekend.

In a statement, Castelo has expressed concern over what she described as confusing pieces of information coming from the DOH over the weekend about the reliability of test kits from China.

“The DOH and its Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) should check and re-check their test results and other information before releasing these to the public,” said Castelo.

Castelo stressed that the DOH-RITM “should take great care in protecting their credibility at this time.”

“They are the experts. If they are not credible, who do we believe?” she asked.

Castelo recalled that on Saturday, DOH Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire told her daily news briefing on the COVID-19 situation that some of the Chinese test kits were only 40-percent accurate, and that the DOH-RITM had to discard them.

The lawmaker said “people believed Vergeire’s statement, especially considering that based on news reports, Spain, Netherlands, Turkey, and Georgia had similar issues with testing and face mask imports and donations from Beijing.”

However, the very next day, yesterday (Sunday), Vergeire’s boss, Health Secretary Francisco Duque lll, and the Chinese embassy denied that the test kits from China were inaccurate, asserting that these were of the same quality as those donated by the World Health Organization.

“So who donated or supplied the Chinese test kits Usec Vergeire stated were not reliable? Up to now, the DOH has not told us,” Castelo stressed.

She added that in other countries, defective imports or donations were returned and promptly replaced.

“If they were donated by private parties, they should say so. They should tell the donors, who made the donations in good faith,” the lawmaker said.

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