By Genalyn Kabiling
The government is not making it difficult for Marikina City to get an accreditation for its testing facility for the new coronavirus disease, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles insisted on Friday.
Nograles said Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) supports the accreditation of more testing facilities but reminded applicants to pass biosafety standards as well as proficiency tests for laboratory personnel.
“As a general rule the IATF fully supports the establishment and accreditation of all testing laboratories in the Philippines that will help us increase our testing capacity. Necessarily kasama na diyan ang Marikina City,” he said during a virtual press briefing Friday.
“We just want to dispel the notion na pinapahirapan o masyadong tedious requirements (that we’re making it hard for them or imposing tedious requirements). Everybody passes through that,” he added.
The proposed testing facility in Marikina City may start operations next week as long as its personnel pass certain tests “without any aid from us,” according to Nograles.
“Abot naman ng Monday, granting and under the condition na ‘yung personnel ng Marikina laboratory papasa doon sa proficiency test (It can make it by Monday granting and under the condition the personnel of Marikina laboratory will pass the proficiency test),” he said.
“So there’s a final test, final exam which their personnel have to pass. Hindi na namin kontrol ‘yun (We have no control over that),” he added.
He said the government cannot answer the exam for the Marikina laboratory personnel because “that’s favoritism already at the most extreme.”
Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro earlier proposed the opening the local coronavirus testing center next week even without the approval of the Department of Health. He said they have taken measures to comply with health protocols while laboratory technicians are undergoing training.
The health department however maintained that the proposed testing site in Marikina must pass certain biosafety regulations before allowing its operations. It warned that premature operations of the testing laboratory might cause undue harm to the community.
Malacañang has asked the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to mediate between the DOH and the Marikina City government to resolve the issues surrounding the proposed testing facility.