By Genalyn Kabiling
Malacañang has asked the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to mediate between the Department of Health and the Marikina City government in resolving issues surrounding the latter’s proposed testing facility for the new coronavirus.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Duterte wants local government units (LGUs) to observe DOH’s safety safeguards in establishing a testing laboratory, but also recognizes their initiative to help contain the coronavirus outbreak.
“Ang aming nakitang solusyon diyan ay hihingin po namin ang DILG na mag-mediate sa panig ng DOH at ng Marikina City,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing Thursday.
(The solution we see is to ask the DILG to mediate between the DOH and Marikina City.)
“Huwag naman natin i-discourage ang initiatives ng LGUs, pero at the same time, mga LGUs, huwag naman natin balewalain ang safety standards ng ating DOH.”
(Let us not discourage the initiatives of LGUs but at the same time LGUs must not disregard the safety standards of the DOH.)
Marikina City Mayor Marcy Teodoro earlier reportedly wanted to open their local coronavirus testing center despite having no green light from the health department.
The DOH insisted that the proposed testing site in Marikina must pass certain biosafety regulations before they allowing it to operate. The biosafety equipment reportedly remained uninstalled at the proposed laboratory center, while its personnel have not yet been trained.
Roque said the President has agreed that the DOH’s safety regulations must be strictly followed by testing laboratories.
“Kapag ikaw ay may (If you have a) testing laboratory, you are dealing with a virus that is highly contagious. Gusto lang ng DOH na ‘yung laboratory nila ay mayroon enough safeguards to guarantee sa pagkalat ng virus,” he said.
(The DOH only wants to ensure the laboratory has enough safeguards to guarantee against the spread of the virus.)
The President’s patience, however, is wearing thin when it comes to sluggish bureaucratic rules, according to Roque.
“Pero at the same time, nakikiisa din ang Presidente sa lahat initiative ng local government units para magkaroon ng sarili-sariling solusyon sa kanilang geographical territory. Naiinip din po ang Presidente kung minsan sa bagal ng ilang departmento natin,” he said.
(But at the same time, the President backs the initiatives of LGUs to attain solutions in their geographical territory.The President is also impatient sometimes when some departments act slow.)
“Ang patunay dito ay siya na nag-authorize na bumili ng rapid testing kits dahil nababagalan siya sa solusyon ng mga bureaucrats,” he added.
(Proof of this is the President authorized the purchase of rapid testing kits because he finds the action of bureaucracy slow.)