Senator Bong Go on Sunday urged the government to impose price controls on Covid-19 testing kits as demand for it continues to grow amid the ongoing health crisis.
Go emphasized that Covid-19 testing is a requirement for persons taking essential travels, overseas Filipino workers, and employees. Due to this, he said Covid-19 diagnostic testing has become a fundamental commodity and crucial component in the country’s recovery efforts.
“Dapat po natin tutukan ito at panatilihing abot-kaya ang testing sa bansa upang masiguro ang availability, affordability, at accessibility nito sa lahat ng mga Pilipino,” he said.
“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-19 testing, citing a recent report from the Department of Health which highlighted that a number of facilities impose additional fees to immediately facilitate the processing of the specimen and expedite the validation and release of results.
A news report recently featured a person compelled to shell out almost P20,000 for a COVID-19 test whose result may be known within hours only.
“Sa panahon ng krisis, pantay dapat ang serbisyo lalo na pagdating sa kalusugan. Mahirap man o mayaman, dapat may access sila sa Covid-19 testing,” Go said.
“Dapat may price control measures para hindi ito pagkakitaan ng iilang mapang-abusong negosyante. Buhay po ang nakataya dito,” suggested Go.
“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.