Isko warns vs using drive thru testing centers to earn money

Isko Moreno
Mayor Isko Moreno warns those who will reserve slots at the drive-thru centers in exchange for money. Photo by JERRY S. TAN

Isko: No paid reserve slots at drive thur test centers.

A WARNING was issued by Mayor Isko Moreno against some ‘enterprising’ individuals who use the city government’s drive-thru COVID testing centers to earn money out of pulling one over others who play fair.

Moreno said he had ordered the arrest of four pedicab drivers, whom he branded as ‘mga tolongges sa pila,’ after investigation based on complaints from netizens showed that they lined up at the drive-thru center at the Bonifacio Shrine in Lawton during the night in exchange for payment from vehicle owners who would then switch places with them as soon as the center opens the following day.

Heaving a deep sigh of frustration, Moreno said some enterprising people have taken advantage of the long lines as a way to earn money, by merely reserving slots and getting paid for it, for a price of from P200 or more.

The mayor said the pedicabs were impounded to serve as a lesson to others not to engage in the same kind of activity as he stressed that the ‘first come, first served’ policy is being enforced in the testing centers to be fair to everyone wanting to avail of the free COVID testing.

“Alam nyo, 12:30 a.m. palang, minsang alas-9 ng gabi pa lang, puno na sa Grandstand. Nagtitiyaga sila dahil alam nila na sa Maynila, pantay-pantay. Etong mga salbahe… naku, Diyos ko, nakaisip ka ng paraan ginawa namang oportunidad ng mga ito.  Mga tolongges sa pila,” Moreno lamented.

Moreno and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna recently opened in a matter of four days, two drive-thru COVID testing centers, one in front of the Bonifacio Shrine near Manila City Hall and another in front of the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta.

Since the said testing centers were free and made available for both Manilans and non-Manilans, motorists flocked to them in throngs, causing long lines to the point that some spend the night there just to be able to get tested early the following day.

As such, many do not make it to the cut-off so that they line up way ahead of the centers’ operating hours, with some even spending overnight there.

Said centers operate from Mondays to Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. At least 200 get tested in Bonifacio Shrine daily, while 700 are accommodated at the Quirino Grandstand also on a daily basis.