Filipino “activists” and Opposition partisans calling for COVID-19 “mass testing” to be implemented have so far failed to issue precise definitions of what they mean exactly. This reveals evident dishonesty in their intent. It remains unclear what it is exactly they want to happen beyond what continues to be the broader perception of their agenda — to make the Philippine government look bad by claiming it is not “doing enough”.
Reports in early May suggested that the national testing capacity stood at 3,000 per day with a backlog of almost 10,000 test results to be analysed or released. The government also says it aims to test up to 2 percent of the population or about two million people. It is unclear whether the government’s stated target of increasing testing capacity to 30,000 per day is consistent with that sample size target. In any case, there is mounting evidence that the testing capacity target will not be met by the end of May.
What then do the “activists” and Opposition partisans mean by “mass testing” exactly? Is it the government’s 2 million people sample size target? Is it its 30,000 testing capacity per day target? If neither, do Opposition partisans and “activists” propose a quantitative target of their own? It seems they are not up to the job of doing their own maths.
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“Social news network” Rappler, for example, offers no such number even as it makes itself a sounding board for the Opposition “demand” for mass testing. In one of its “reports” it regurgitates the opinion of “UP expert” Professor Jomar Rabajante of the “UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team” who says (translated in English by the report author), “A good way to fight this pandemic is not prolonged ECQ but mass testing, isolation, and contact tracing. This is where we should invest.” Other than that, no number to serve as a comparison to the quantified government targets is offered by said “expert”.
The author of this Rappler “report” Bonz Magsambol, instead, goes on to cite his expert’s “wisdom” on the matter…
Rabajante said that although the coronavirus test kits are expensive, the government should invest in them instead of always extending the ECQ.
“Ano ang gusto natin? Mag-invest sa testing and puwede mag-open ang economy? Or forever closed ang economy at walang dadaan na pera?” Rabajante said.
(What do we want? Invest in testing so we can reopen the economy? Or forever shut down the economy and not have money circulating?)
It seems said Rappler “expert” source is not only being put up as an expert on the disease but also made out to be some sort of “economist” seeing that his less-than-expert opinion on the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the Philippine economy is also given space here.
The Facebook page Mass Testing Now PH also offers zero clarity on the matter. In a note spelling out their “demands” to the government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, no such number is offered either…
We, the Filipino people, plead for your urgent action in response to the COVID-19 crisis our nation is facing. Here are our demands:
1. START MASS TESTING NOW. Implement free mandatory mass testing nationwide and mobilize the local government units (LGUs) to set-up local testing centers.
2. Distribute free face masks, hand soaps, alcohol, drinking water rations, and vitamins to every barangay. Conduct massive disinfection in high-traffic locations regularly.
[blah blah blah…]
A total of ten demands are listed but no precise numbers to compare to the government’s quantitative targets can be found — which means there is no precise basis offered by this group either to clearly define why they think the government is not “doing enough”.
Opposition partisans and “activists” also latch on to celebrities like actress Angel Locsin for thought leadership. A tweet by the starlet that had been “trending” recently illustrates the same intellectual bankruptcy of their lot…
Ang lakas ng loob mong magsabi ng common sense eh hindi mo nga alam ang meaning ng “mass”? hay. Kung may mass burial ba na gagawin, kasama ka ba sa ililibing bilang buong 110M ng population ang nilalaban mo? Hindi naman, di ba? So anong kinagagalit mo? Kumalma ka https://t.co/6SPBGNwHOS
— Angel Locsin (@143redangel) May 22, 2020
Translated… You have the nerve citing “common sense” in your argument. You don’t even know the meaning of “mass”. If there is a mass burial, would it mean including yourself in all 110 million of the population who you would argue would be buried? No, right? So why be angry? Calm down!
Despite all the rhetoric, whether coming from a “UP expert”, a Facebook “activist” group or a showbiz starlet like Locsin, it is still unclear what is meant by the “mass testing” the Opposition is calling for.
The mystery persists.
What do the Opposition mean exactly when they call for “mass testing”?
Until they define “mass testing” in clearer more precise terms and not just get all snooty and shrill about it, the Opposition will be seen as no more than dishonest opportunists who are up to no good and are just out to sabotage Philippine democracy.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.