MANILA--The government said it was confident it could achieve its target to administer 10 million COVID-19 tests by the first quarter of 2021.
Testing czar Sec. Vince Dizon on Friday said the Philippines has already carried out more than 6.5 million tests and was well on its way to achieving its target in the next months.
“Simula noong isang laboratoryo lamang noong Pebrero noong nagsimula tayo laban sa COVID-19, halos 200 na po ang labs natin sa buong bansa,” Dizon said.
“At dahil nga po diyan eh iyong ating testing na nagawa eh talagang napakalaki na po ng itinaas. Ngayon po eh mahigit 6 na milyon na, mahigit o 6.5 million na ang na-test.”
But Dizon said there was still a need to improve the country’s testing capability and put testing laboratories in several cities across the nation.
“Pero iyong testing natin, napakalaki na ng ini-improve pero kailangan pa rin nating taasan lalo na sa mga siyudad na wala pang mga testing labs tulad ng mga siyudad. Halimbawa, sa Mindanao, tulad ng Tagum, ng Digos, ng Bislig sa Surigao, Dipolog sa Zamboanga, Valencia sa Bukidnon. Sa Visayas, sa Borongan. Sa Bicol Region, sa Sorsogon City," Dizon said.
"Iyan kailangan nating lagyan pa ng mga laboratoryo iyan para pati sila ay ready rin kapag nagkaroon ng mga pagdami ng kaso."
ROLE OF LGUs
Local government units will have a big role to play when the national government begins its vaccination program next year.
Dizon said that, similar their role in the enforcement of COVID-19 policies to prevent community transmission in their areas, LGUs will have an important part to play in the distribution of vaccines.
Vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier announced that the Philippines would be employing a "whole of nation" approach in the government’s vaccination program, expected to target between 60 million to 70 million in the next 3 to 5 years.
But Sen. Ralph Recto said that time to roll out the vaccine against COVID-19 is "too long" and will be "too late" for the Philippine economy to recover.