Palace affirms meeting COVID-19 testing capacity

The Palace on Tuesday affirmed that the government has now reached and surpassed the 30,000 target daily testing capacity for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

At present, the country has 49 accredited laboratories that are capable of conducting COVID-19 tests nationwide.

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“Kanina ay nagsalita na po si DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire at kanyang nilinaw na hindi lamang po natin naabot ang 30,000 target testing capacity daily, lumagpas na po tayo with 34,000,” said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. at his June 2 media briefing.

However, the testing capacity is not being fully maximized at this time as limitations with regard to supply and equipment still exist according to the Department of Health.

“Kaya na po nating mag test hanggang 34,000 a day, bagama’t ang daily test rates po talaga ay magbabago at hindi po pare-pareho,” said Secretary Roque who is also the concurrent IATF Spokesperson.

In the same media briefing, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that there are 343,551 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have been affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), either by displacement or by getting infected with COVID-19.

As such, the Labor Secretary discussed the reintegration program that the DOLE has for displaced and repatriated OFWs, including employment opportunities for qualified OFWs in the government’s Build, Build, Build program.

For those who will not be accommodated in the government’s infrastructure projects, Sec. Bello said that they will be given livelihood assistance of as much as PhP20,000 or be allowed to make loans without interest for starting their own businesses. The Labor chief also mentioned about giving scholarships to children of the repatriated OFWs.

Meanwhile, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade asked for the public’s understanding on the discomforts or inconveniences that they have experienced due to the limited transportation options available in GCQ areas.

Secretary Tugade said that everybody is experiencing certain inconveniences at this time, and that these discomforts are temporary only and will be replaced with lasting convenience, connectivity, and mobility of people in the long run.

The Transport Secretary also said that it’s not true that the government has no plans regarding transportation, especially now that many areas are already under GCQ and many commuters have returned to work.

Sec. Tugade said that the change in the landscape in EDSA and the bus augmentation that are currently being implemented are part of the DOTr’s plans with regard to transportation.(OPS-PCOO)