The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, supported the setting of price cap or charge ceiling on Coronavirus Disease (COVID) 2019 tests and test kits as embodied in Executive Order No. 118, series of 2020, issued by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
In a resolution, city legislators stated the present pandemic commands compassion from providers of test kits and companies accredited by government agencies to do the required tests, thus, such act from them will be highly appreciated because of the urgent need.
Further, transparent, fair and reasonable pricing is what the public needs, thus, enterprising individuals should refrain from effecting unnecessary charges that constitute overpricing and that accredited service providers need to sustain their operation but shall not resort to overcharging, and maintain the high element of entrepreneurial service to the needy community as always part of their strategy, thrusts and business endeavours.
The council said that since COVID test is now a highly essential requirement for travel purposes, employment or re-entry to work for returning Overseas Filipino Workers and more, and such test is not subsidized by the government unless for exceptional cases, Baguio residents including those allowed local tourists are undergoing the mandatory tests at their own expense.
The council said the COVID pandemic has drastically impacted the whole world and its massive effect on economic growth has been evident as people are now experiencing economic contraction, so with the sectors of health, education, agriculture, trade and tourism and labor force employment.
Republic Act (RA) 11469 declares it is the policy of the State to sustain efforts to test, trace and trade COVID cases to mitigate the transmission of the disease and prevent further loss of lives and to reduce the adverse impact of the illness on the socio-economic well-being of all Filipinos through the provision of economic relief.
On November 4, 2020, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued Executive Order No. 118 that directed the health department, in coordination with the trade and industry department, to ensure accessibility and affordability of COVID tests and test kits which led to a study of the pricing of such goods.
The council claimed that EO 118 is in consonance with the country’s RA 7581 or the Rice Act as amended by RA 10623 on mandated price ceiling; providing that the President upon the recommendation of the implementing agency or the price coordinating council may impose a price ceiling on any basic necessity or prime commodity during the existence or effect of threats, calamities or emergencies.
The council admitted that the prevailing prices of test and test kits in the city are reportedly exorbitant which the public cannot afford and thus would not avail which may compromise the overall health situation. By Dexter A. See