MARIKINA Mayor Marcelino “Marcy” Teodoro announced that they will push through with the opening of the city’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) molecular testing center even without the approval of the Department of Health (DOH), invoking the local autonomy and General Welfare Clause during public health emergency.
“Iniinvoke na ng Marikina ang kaniyang local autonomy. Ito ay nasa mandato ng bawat lokal na pamahalaan,” Mayor Teodoro said.
“Idemanda na nila ako para sa kababayan ko. Sa tingin ko mas malaking kasalanan sa batas at tao ang kawalang aksyon ng DOH ngayon dahil buhay ang nawawala,” he stressed.
Mayor Teodoro cited Section 16 of the Local Government Code which states that every local government unit shall exercise the powers necessary, and appropriate in the promotion of general welfare and health of the public.
Moreover, he also said such is pursuant to the Presidential Proclamation No. 922 which declares a State of Public Emergency in the country and enjoins all LGUs to mobilize the necessary resources to undertake critical, urgent, and appropriate response and measures in a timely manner to curtail and eliminate the threat of COVID-19.
Earlier the DOH rejected the opening of the city’s molecular COVID-19 testing center located at the 6th floor of the City Health Office (CHO) after its assessment that it should have a separate facility.
The local government in response, has identified another location for the testing center—a freestanding structure, two-storey building in Barangay Concepcion Uno, located in a not populated but accessible place as it is located along a main avenue in the city, noting such suits the DOH requirements and standard.
Mayor Marcy stressed that the COVID-19 testing center of Marikina City will be operational on Friday even without the License to Operate (LTO) from the DOH.
“Matagal na kaming naghihintay sa approval ng DOH, eh, sumunod naman kami sa lahat ng hinihingi nilang protocol--sa standard na sinasabi nila. At sinunod namin lahat ng recommendations nila, at findings na nakita nila sa unang laboratoryo na itinayo namin, three weeks ago--tatlong linggo na ang nakakaraan.”
“Inaasahan natin sa pagbubukas ng Marikina Testing Center natin sa Biyernes ay daragdag ang magpapa-test dito sa Marikina COVID-19 Testing Center natin. Ito iyong strategy natin upang malabanan natin ang COVID-19. Paano? Magma-mass testing tayo,” he said.
On the same day, Mayor Marcy has inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Manila Heath Tek, Inc, ordering 3, 000 more COVID-19 test kits, which will be on top of the first 3, 000 kits ordered by the city.
Mayor Marcy has emphasized the importance of mass testing in combating the highly infectious virus to stop its spread in the city.
“Mahalaga ang testing. Ito ay isang magaling na startegy nai-employ ng Marikina upang sa ganoon mag-plateau ang bilang ng COVID-19 cases dito sa City of Marikina,” the mayor said.
Citing the World Health Organization (WHO), Mayor Marcy said the strategy should be offensive, meaning that mass testing must be done immediately to contain COVID-19.
“May public health emergency, may crisis, may pangangailangan para sa testing. Sinabi na ng WHO na ito ang pinakamabisang offensive strategy upang labanan ang COVID-19,” he noted.