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Mass testing crucial in reopening economy — AAMBIS-OWA party-list

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The government should launch a mass testing program to remove the “fear factor” in the reopening of the economy, according to AAMBIS-OWA party-list Rep. Sharon Garin.

“People won’t go out of their homes if they’re scared,” said the chair of the House committee on economic affairs Chair Sharon Garin, as she stressed the need for mass testing to quell public fear and jumpstart economic activity.

She maintained that the public must be reassured that on top of the government’s efforts to boost business confidence and maintain employment levels, the safety and welfare of the people remains a top priority.

“Without testing, without knowing where we are (who’s infected, how many are infected), any normal human being will not go to work. Consumers won’t go out, and businesses won’t open,” Garin said.

“We did a general intervention na dapat we spend for mass testing for LGUs and agencies. After that, we identify whether the assistance should be transitional, financial, sectoral, or structural,” she explained, referring to the proposed Philippine Economic Stimulus Package (PESA), which is currently under deliberation in the House.

According to the latest DOH Covid-19 Case Bulletin, the country has a total of 14,035 cases, with 3,249 recoveries and 868 deaths.

In the current version, the earmarked amount for mass testing is P20 billion, with the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) assigned as implementing agencies.

Half of the fund will be appropriated for 2021.

Garin said she remains optimistic that both chambers of Congress will fast-track the bill to provide economic relief to critically-impacted industries and benefit 30 million Filipino workers.

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