Our lockdown is obviously working, no doubt. We can see it ourselves even from the windows of our own houses. But it is not enough by itself to flatten the COVID-19 curve. South Korea has reported to have flattened the curve through mass testing, not lockdown.
What we lack is the ability of the Department of Health to be more flexible. Hundreds of thousands of rapid test kits for donation by some local businessmen and procured from South Korea and China – already in use in those jurisdictions, having been certified by their regulatory agencies – have already arrived at least over a week ago. Yet, a big volume is still being held by Customs. Why?
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration – an agency under the DOH – still refuses to issue even a provisional accreditation, which is needed so those test kits can be distributed for use particularly by those who have symptoms or those who have had direct contact with infected persons, even on a “do-it-yourself” basis, so they can immediately practice self-isolation should they test positive. In turn, this can prevent or at least minimize the spread of the virus.
That, instead of overly restrictive regulations imposed by our DOH, will certainly help obviate a possibly uncontrollable spread of the COVID-19.
As of last Monday, when we were deliberating on the just-signed Bayanihan To Heal As One Act, we tested only 1,500 Filipinos, more or less. With a population of 107 million, the worst is yet to come unless DOH and FDA act with urgency.
That is why I proposed an amendment – which is now Section 4 (j) of RA 11469, the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act. This aims to “ensure that donation, acceptance and distribution of health products intended to address the COVID-19 public health emergency are not unnecessarily delayed and that health products for donation duly certified by the regulatory agency or their accredited third party from countries with established regulation shall automatically be cleared: Provided, this shall not apply to health products which do not require a certification or clearance from (FDA).”
In an interview on DZMM, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– possible irregularities in the ‘Good Conduct Time Allowance’ system
– fear felt by kin of KFR victims due to possible release of KFR convicts due to GCTA
We spend a great deal of taxpayers’ money for an automated processing system, x-ray scanners, even for brokers’ accreditation, not to mention fairly high salaries for seasoned military men at the helm of the Bureau of Customs. But at the end of the day – all our efforts be damned — we are still one hell of a mess.
Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I rise before you on a matter of personal and collective privilege.
To say that our country is treated like trash appears to be true, as in literally, amid news reports of tons of waste being illegally shipped into our lands, no thanks to local and foreign smugglers, unscrupulous Customs brokers and corrupt Customs officials.
In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– situation of detained Sen. de Lima
– options for new Customs Commissioner Guerrero
– PNPA sex scandal as a ‘test case’ for the Anti-Hazing Law of 2018
– proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2018
– Sen. Honasan being eyed to head DICT
At the #MeetInquirer multimedia forum, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– ‘Hybrid’ budget
– National ID
– President Duterte’s reported thinking of stepping down
– Addressing the problems at BOC
– Pork barrel system
– PDEA’s need to refocus anti-drug strategy
– Sen. Tito Sotto as Senate President
– Political scene 2022