PH poor virus testing capability lamented

March 11, 2020

SENATOR Imee Marcos yesterday stressed that the limited number of support centers of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) means that the country’s capacity to conduct Covid-19 tests will be severely challenged if a widespread contagion takes place.

“Hanggang ngayon, hindi pa sinasabi ng DOH (Department of Health) kung ilan ba talaga ang kayang i-testing ng RITM bawat araw, Kahit limpak-limpak pa ang testing kit na bibilhin natin, kung kulang naman sa manpower, wala rin,” Marcos said.

Marcos is calling for a bigger budget to modernize and expand the RITM in Muntinlupa, the country’s main center for Covid-19 testing.

“Biruin nyo naman sa recent hearing namin dito sa Senado, inamin mismo ng DOH na meron lang silang 2,000 testing kits. Tapos ang population natin over 100 million, e paano na ‘yan sakaling lumobo pa ang maapektuhan?” Marcos said.

Marcos lamented that more than 30 years of government neglect towards the RITM has left it undermanned and ill-equipped to cope with the sudden appearance of new viruses and the spread of infection on a large scale.

“Mag-aapat na dekada na mula nung na-inaugurate ang RITM sa panahon pa ng tatay ko, pero sa mahabang panahon mukhang dinedma lang ang importansya ng RITM at halos walang nangyaring development,” Marcos said.