Palace says there are other testing centers aside from Red Cross
Malacanang said on Monday there are other laboratories in the country conducting RT-PCR tests for coronavirus disease apart from the Philippine National Red Cross.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement following the warning of Senator Richard Gordon that the PNRC would stop conducting RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) testing if the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. fail to pay the non-government organization.
"In an answer to the threat, there are now in excess of 101 laboratories doing PCR testing and in fact, while the PNRC is still the biggest testing center accounting for around 12 percent of the market, following it is around 11 percent of the market and following the 11 percent market caters almost exclusively to seamen because they are the ones going to the ships," he said.
"So, for me, we are not going to have the highest actual testing of PCR test being conducted if we are going to rely only on one laboratory," Roque said.
But he acknowledged that if PNRC, chaired by Gordon, would refuse to conduct testing anymore, it would be a big loss.
PhilHealth reportedly owes PNRC almost P 1 billion.
Roque, however, reminded PNRC that the government previously made advancement to the organization.
He apologized if this time there is somewhat a delay in reimbursing the PNRC.
"I'm sure that because PNRC is led by Senator Richard Gordon, it will be a priority. Let's just wait until they thresh out whatever the problem now in PhilHealth and we hope testing will continue because we consider PNRC as a very important partners of government in the testing capacity," Roque said.
PhilHealth is being investigated for alleged massive corruption involving some of its officials. Celerina Monte/DMS