PEOPLE believe that the overpricing of test kits and swab testing by unscrupulous firms are, without doubt, unconscionable acts that should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
That’s why we doff our hat to President Rodrigo Duterte for issuing an executive order (EO) placing a price cap on swab testing and test kits for the deadly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Duterte’s signing of Executive Order (EO) No. 118, in the view of well-meaning Filipinos, is “a correct move.” Particularly for the poor who can barely provide for their daily food needs.
It mandates the Department of Health (DOH), in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), to ensure accessibility and affordability of COVID-19 tests and test kits.
Under the newly-signed executive order, the DOH and DTI must also ensure that the price range for COVID-19 testing and test kits is “just, equitable, and sensitive to all stakeholders.”
Compliance with the price range must form part of the standards and requirements for licensing and accreditation of hospitals, laboratories and other facilities as COVID testing centers.
Under EO No. 118, which takes effect upon publication in the Official Gazette, the DOH ought to ensure that all accredited COVID-19 laboratories observe transparency in the pricing of tests.
Now that President Duterte has issued EO No. 118, it will be up to concerned government offices and agencies, especially DOH and DTI, to monitor the laboratories’ compliance.
Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with earning a living by selling COVID-19 test kits and conducting swab testing.
But at this time of economic hardship brought about by the crippling COVID-19 pandemic, let’s not overprice goods and services beyond the reach of the poorest of the poor across the country.