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Isko orders probe of used rapid test kits found on street

A THOROUGH investigation was ordered by Mayor Isko Moreno into the incident on M. Dela Fuente Street in Sampaloc, Manila Tuesday evening, where a huge volume of used rapid test kits littered the street the other night, with a warning that the establishment who may have improperly disposed such kits will be dealt with accordingly.

Moreno also called on barangays to be vigilant and announced that authorities looking into the matter are already zeroing in on a person of interest.

According to the mayor, the only good news is that the incident was not found to be intentional and that the scavenger concerned was not even aware that the garbage bag he tied on his pedicab had been punctured, causing its contents, among them hundreds of used rapid test kits, to fall and form a trail right on the street.

Bureau of permits and licensing office chief Levi Facundo said that on orders of the mayor, the establishment responsible will be shut down and its owner will be charged accordingly for improper disposal of hazardous materials should evidence warrant based on a probe by the Manila Police District (MPD) authorities.

Moreno said the source of the said test kits may be a laboratory, clinic, hospital or a private office which may not have disposed of the said kits properly.

Immediately, Moreno said the kits numbering to about 200 were collected by the department of public services headed by Kenneth Amurao and had been disinfected, as he allayed fears that it might spread the virus, saying science does not support the said fear.

He cited that there are protocols to be observed in disposing hazardous wastes under which the said used, rapid test kits fall.

In the case of the Manila Health Department and the city-run hospitals, Moreno said that before it stopped using rapid test kits in mid-July, the city government had been strictly complying with the provisions of Republic Act No. 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1999) and Republic Act No. 9003 (Philippine Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000) in terms of the disposal of used rapid test kits, injections and other medical wastes.