Gordon nakorner sa overpriced COVID test

Todo paliwanag si Senador Richard Gordon kaugnay ng diumano’y sobrang paniningil ng P4,500 sa bawat COVID-19 test ng Philippine Red Cross (PRC) kung saan siya ang tumatayong chairman.

“Dumaing na sila. Lumipat na lang sila sa iba. Niloloko tayo ng mga ‘yan eh. Hindi naman P4,500 eh. P3,500 ang test, sinungaling ang nagsasabi niyan,” pahayag ni Gordon sa panayam sa telebisyon nang matanong tungkol sa isyu ng overpriced COVID test umano ng PRC.

Binanggit pa nito pati ang China sa naturang isyu.

“Dapat maintindihan ng tao we have to test and there’s payment because ‘yung China sinisingil tayo niyan. ‘Yung mga testing kit, sinisingil tayo niyan. Itinataas pa nga nila. Gusto nila kapag bumili ka ng isang machine ngayon, bibili ka ng 20,000 to 30,000 test kits. Magkano isa ‘yun? $15 to $18. Multiply ninyo, milyun-milyong dolyar na ‘yun,” pagkukuwenta pa ni Gordon.

Nauna nang ipinaliwanag ni Gordon na ang halaga ng COVID-19 test para sa mga sample na na-swab ng mga local government unit ay P3,5000.

Subalit noong Lunes, kinuwestiyon ng mass testing advocate na si Dr. Minguita Padilla, ang P4,5000 na out-of-pocket fee na kinolekta ng PRC sa kanyang driver na isang paying PhilHealth member.

“When they asked about PhilHealth, ‘Aren’t we entitled to PhilHealth?’ The answer was ‘It’s up to you now to deal with PhilHealth and ask them to reimburse,’ which is really wrong because based on Universal Health Care, PhilHealth should reimburse the hospital or the health care institution that delivers the service. It’s not up to the patient who pays premiums to run after PhilHealth to get the reimbursement,” pahayag ni Padilla sa virtual interview ng Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.

“I am actually quite intrigued or baffled by why it is the case, especially since they got an advance of a P100 million which was not hidden anyway, it was actually an open thing and there’s another P3,500 that PhilHealth allegedly pays so what is this all about? It is something we need to find out,” dagdag pa nito.

Inamin naman ni Gordon na nasakatan siya sa binanggit ni Padilla na P100 milyon ang advancement payment ng PhilHealth sa PRC.

Sa panayam sa telebisyon, sinabi nitong, “Alam mo, walang magaling dito eh. Ang PhilHealth nag-iingat baka mademanda sila. Iniimbestiga nga sila eh kasi sa kanilang budget, P8,000 ang gagawing test nila.”

“Naiintindihan ko sila eh baka magpapa-test ulit kung magkaroon ng negative na positive later. Eh kung talagang kukurutin mo lahat ‘yan at sasabihin mo lahat ng puwedeng mangyari ay talagang wala na tayong magagawa,” dagdag pa ng senador.

Mariin pang itinanggi nito na nagkaroon ng backlog sa resulta ng COVID-19 test ng PRC at naipadala na umano nila lahat sa Department of Health (DOH).

“Napadala na namin (test results) sa DOH… Kami tiga-test lang kami. Ang tiga-swab, gobyerno. Pagtapos, dadalhin nila ang kanilang mga data. Hindi ako naninisi ah. Kasi bago itong sistema eh.

Samantala, isang netizen ang nag-post sa Facebook noong Mayo 4 ng kanya diumano’y “personal experience” sa pagpapa-COVID test sa PRC.

“April 29, 2020 I had my RT-PCR test taken at 9:15 AM at the PRC Mandaluyong Molecular Lab. The price was P3,500 per person (an expensive way to get your nostrils and throat a traumatic experience). I was advised to wait for 24-48 hours to get the results, which would be emailed to me,” salaysay ng netizen na nagngangalang Frederick Evans Jardenil.

Mayo 1 tumawag siya sa PRC hotline at sinabihan umano siya na maghintay pa ng tatlong araw dahil inaabot ng 120 oras ang proseso.

“May 4, 2020 (today) I called the hotline again, and after 20+ failed attempts, I got connected, thinking that my concern would finally be addressed; but I still had to pay another P500 to get the certification and no definite date as to when I could acquire the lab results! Hard to do when they only accept bank transfer and the banks in Metro MNL are crowded,” ayon kay Jardenil.

Para kay Jardenil, “unbelievably opportunistic” aniya ang P3,500 na singil sa swab test na karaniwan lang nagkakahalaga ng hanggang P2,000.

“It only takes 48 hours or less to achieve results from a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) as what we have observed from various specimens, i.e. high ranking politicians. 5+ days for common folk is very abusive.

Always First, Always Ready, Always There? More like: Politicians First, Pockets Ready, Nobody is really there,” sabi pa ni Jardenil.

Nakasaad pa sa post nito na isa umano siyang PRC volunteer at paramedic.