MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Wednesday said it does not see the need for the public to demand more from government with regards its response to the coronavirus pandemic because the government is already doing “more.”
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said this after former Senator and now Sorsogon Governor Francis “Chiz” Escudero reminded people not to settle for less.
“You don’t have to demand (more) because we’re doing it,” Roque said in an interview over CNN Philippines’ The Source.
The government has been heavily criticized for its COVID-19 response which was described by critics as lacking especially in enforcing mass coronavirus testing.
But it had repeatedly argued that the pandemic situation in the country could have been worse as millions of people nationwide could have been infected by the disease if not for government interventions such as the world-longest coronavirus lockdown.
Escudero, in a Facebook post, said “the ‘it could have been worse’ argument is actually a fallacy designed to make people feel good and contented with whatever is given them.”
“We can and should demand more from our leaders who I believe can and will do more! ‘Di na dapat pwede ang ‘pwede na,’” he said.
Roque said the use of pooled testing shows the government’s resolve in utilizing new ideas in response to the pandemic.
“The fact that we have reached the point that we have pooled testing which is now actually in principle allowed shows the stride that we have made in breaking barriers and in accepting new ideas,” Roque said.
In pooled testing, swab samples of multiple individuals are put into a single reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.
If a positive result comes from a single batch of pooled tests, further individual assessments will be made. Meanwhile, if the swab tests come back negative, then individual testing will no longer be needed.
“As soon as we dully implement this pooled testing we will see a major, major decrease in the case doubling rate and as well as the case reproduction rate,” the Palace official added.
Last month, the Department of Health announced that the pooled testing method will have to under ethics review before a pilot study will be conducted.
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