By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Richard J. Gordon today welcomed the result of the
an investigation by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM)
on the reported 48 “false positive” patients tested at the laboratory
clinic of Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chapter in Subic.
Gordon said it has always been clear that the accusation leveled
against PRC, which he chairs, is meant to distract him from the Senate
investigation into the alleged corruption in the government
procurement contracts for COVID-19 response.
“We commend the RITM for its objectivity in conducting its
investigation. Clearly, the accusation of ‘false positive’ cases in
PRC’s testing was just used to cast doubt on the integrity of the PRC
and to distract the Senate investigation,” he said.
Last Sept. 21, Mr. Duterte ordered Health Secretary Francisco Duque
III to investigate a complaint that 44 of 49 fully vaccinated health
personnel tested positive for COVID-19 after taking their first RT-PCR
test at PRC’s laboratory clinic in Subic.
However, in a letter sent to PRC last Oct. 13, Health Assistant
Secretary Nestor Santiago Jr. maintained that the investigation he
conducted found no evidence of contamination for the 48 cases tested
by PRC and their results were found valid and reliable.
In his 28-page report, he also affirmed that there was no evidence
found to suggest that there was a contamination of SARS-CoV-2, the
virus that causes COVID-19, to the 48 samples, where 45 tested
He also added that PRC-Subic passed the proficiency test conducted by
the government investigative panel, obtaining a 100 percent score
since the laboratory followed all procedures expected of them.
According to him, the negative results in a re-test three days later
in another laboratory might be due to the natural decline in
detectability of the virus.
Gordon, however, lamented how some officials, including Mr. Duterte’s
allies at the House of Representatives were quick to make wild
accusation and jump to a hasty conclusions in order to gain brownie
points for their political patrons.
“The PRC has conducted more than 4.6 million tests since March 2020
and has led in saving thousands of lives for early detection of this
deadly virus through the assistance of our 14 molecular laboratories,”
“I thank the hardworking volunteers of PRC, especially our laboratory
technicians and medical technologists for their conscientious
performance of their duties despite the daily risks to their lives and
that of their families,” he added.
To date, the PRC, the country’s premier humanitarian organization, has
conducted more than four million swab and saliva tests, which is 21
percent of the COVID-19 tests conducted in the entire country.
During the initial months of the pandemic in March 2020, the
government has asked PRC to establish the molecular laboratories
across the country to address the backlog of testing to stem the
further spread of the new coronavirus.
Apart from the 14 molecular laboratories it has established, PRC has
also assisted the government vaccination program through its Bakuna
centers and Bakuna buses, vaccinating over 332,271 doses and having
134,669 people fully vaccinated.
It has also served 4,101 patients in its isolation facilities, while
51,723 patients were provided medical care in its emergency field
hospitals and medical tents.
PRC has provided poor families with hot meals through its Hot Meals on
Wheels program continues to aid and comfort those people who
have been affected by disasters, the most recent was those hit by
tropical storm Maring. (ai/mtvn)