Press Release
March 27, 2020

Dispatch from Crame No. 753:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Supplemental Message on the Urgency of a Mass Testing Program


The urgency of a mass testing program cannot be overemphasized. I am frustrated and alarmed that the national government deferred the COVID-19 testing initiative of Marikina City. Here is a local government unit that is ready to operate and start testing, but what do we do? Delay the efforts to contain this outbreak with too much red tape? Ano pa ba ang hinihintay natin? Request ng mga VIP? This lack of urgency in an emergency situation will kill us all.

Instead of obsessing in terrorizing the people to toe the line, our government should focus on making them feel secured in knowing that the spread of the virus can be contained and that they will not be endangering the lives of their loved ones. Mass testing is a key in the success stories of countries like South Korea and Singapore.

Bakit ang tabang at ang kupad ng response natin sa isang programang magsasalba ng libo-libo, kundi man milyong, buhay ng ating mga kababayan? I shudder at the thought of us waking up someday to people dying in the streets. We've now reached that point where there are reports of people dying in their very own homes. One even went for medical consultation because of symptoms but was advised to stay home.

The worst is yet to come if we do not act decisively and swiftly for our own people, NOW. May itinatago o gustong itago ba tayo sa mga Pilipino at sa mundo?

At the risk of being called a naysayer in a time when hope should spring eternally, it seems to me that the behavior and attitude of some of our top leaders follow China's playbook. Iniiwasan bang masiwalat ang tunay na bilang ng mga apektado ng COVID-19 at kung gayo'y mahayag ang kapabayaan ng administrasyon kaya malamya sila sa pagtulak ng mass testing?

Alam ng gobyerno kung gaano kahalaga ang prosesong ito, nag-unahan pa nga ang ilang opisyales para magpa-test, di ba? Nagawang magpa home service pa nga ang ilan, samantalang yung iba nating kababayan, mamamatay na lang na hindi alam kung ano ang sakit nila. Nakakarimarim na pangitain.

We must continue raising our call for a national mass testing program in all avenues that we can use to reach the most number of people, especially now that there seems to be a dearth of news on this issue, whether in the mass media, social media and other platforms.

Tuloy-tuloy ang pangangalampag! Mass testing saves lives! Walang gulangan. Walang wang-wang. #MassTestingNowPH

(Access the handwritten version of Dispatch from Crame No. 753, here:

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