MANILA – Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Thursday defended the stance of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing czar Secretary Vivencio “Vince” Dizon that mass testing is not ideal amid the spike in coronavirus cases in the country.
This, after Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes hit Dizon for rejecting calls to carry out mass testing despite the alarming surge in Covid-19 cases.
Reyes on Tuesday sought Dizon’s removal as Covid-19 testing czar for “confusing the public” about the definition of mass testing and for supposedly “shamelessly trying to cover up government’s failures by raising non-existent debates and giving us cherry-picked figures.”
Panelo, however, believed there was nothing wrong with Dizon’s recent statement that the government need not test the entire Philippine population.
“Ito namang mga nasa Kaliwa, aba eh reklamo pa rin ng reklamo. Ginugulo raw ni Vince. Actually, wala namang contradiction doon sa mungkahi niyo at doon sa sinasabi naman ni Vince Dizon. Pareho lang eh. Ang problema sa ’yo, naghahanap lang kayo nang mapupulaan itong mama (Those who come from left-leaning groups keep on complaining. They are claiming Vince is confusing the public. Actually, there is no contradiction between your suggestions and Vince Dizon’s remarks. They are just the same. Problem is you merely want to criticize him),” he said.
In a virtual presser on Tuesday, Dizon said Covid-19 testing in the country must be “risk-based and targeted.”
Dizon also warned that testing all Filipinos would be a “dangerous” move and is not recommended by local and international experts.
The country’s testing czar also stressed that experts’ advice should be taken into consideration.
Mass testing, based on the definition provided by the Department of Health, refers to the conduct of tests on individuals who have been exposed to a person infected with Covid-19.
Dizon ensured that the country’s testing capacity has improved, noting that the average number of tests per day already reached 52,000.
Instead of criticizing Dizon, his efforts to help the government stop the further transmission of Covid-19 should be appreciated, Panelo said.
“Talagang [He is really] giving their all. Kaya kung maaari lang naman eh bigyan niyo naman ng recognition yun. Sa halip na wala na kayong ginawa kundi pulaan, purihin niyo naman kahit kaunti (So if possible, give recognition to that. Praise him instead of criticizing him),” Panelo said. (PNA)