THE Supreme Court has been asked to order the national government to fast-track the mass testing for COVID-19 in the country.
In a petition for mandamus, the petitioners led by former Social Welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo also cited the people’s right to information as it urged the high court to order the government to release accurate and timely information about the country's COVID-19 situation.
"The omission of proactive and efficient mass testing amid the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that a systemic and normalized violation of the right to health engenders the impairment of other human rights and liberties, such as the rights to travel, livelihood or work, education, and access to justice,” the petitioners said.
Aside from Taguiwalo, the petitioners included doctors, scientists, students overseas Filipino workers, to name a few.
"Without accurate and timely information on the extent of community transmission of COVID-19, the government lacks proper grounds for any policy pronouncement. These irregularities lessen the confidence of the public in the ability of the DOH (and government in general) to deal with the pandemic with transparency and integrity," they continued.
Named respondents were Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado, Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez, also chief impelementer of the National Action Plan against COVID-19, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
As of this writing, the country has one of the highest coronavirus infection rates in the Southeast Asian region, with 38,805 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 1,274 have died while 10,673 have recovered.