Sotto, Villanueva point out DOH's inadequacies

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Sunday said the Department of Health (DOH) should come clean on the real status of the COVID-19 testing kits that were developed by the University of the Philippines (UP) and inform the public immediately.

“DOH thru FDA (Food and Drug Administration) should once and for all categorize if indeed it certified,” Sotto said in a text message to reporters.

Senate President Tito Sotto and Sen. Joel Villanueva (MANILA BULLETIN)

“If yes, then we should use it,” Sotto appealed.

Sotto made the call after reports showed that the locally-manufactured testing kits for the coronavirus disease are still unused to this day due to the inaction of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III despite the fact that the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and the FDA approved it for commercial use.

Sen. Joel Villanueva said this incident “speaks volumes about the mismanagement in the DOH.”

“The use of test kits can be made more efficient if we implement proactive disease surveillance and monitoring. With accurate and timely data, our authorities can track the spread of the disease, and place high incidence areas under targeted lockdown, to prevent our health population from being infected,” Villanueva said in a separate statement.

“That being said, this incident speaks volumes about the mismanagement in the DOH. The test kits have been ready since May, and yet we continue to rely on imported test kits that costs significantly higher than the locally manufactured ones,” Villanueva lamented.

“Our limited resources are fast being depleted, hospitals are overwhelmed, and frontline workers are overworked, and yet the DOH leadership continues to be two steps behind,” he further said.