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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, May 22, 2020
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‘Testing not mandatory’


MANILA – Returning workers must not be compelled to undergo rapid testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement following reports that local government units are requiring employees to undergo a rapid test for Covid-19 before they can report for work.

In a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4, Roque deemed it unacceptable for LGUs to impose mandatory Covid-19 testing for returning workers.

“Hindi po tama na ‘yung mga LGUs ay nagri-require ng rapid testing kasi hindi naman po talaga requirement iyan (It is not right for LGUs to require mandatory rapid testing because that is not a requirement). That must be done voluntarily,” he said.

Roque said Covid-19 testing should not be a precondition for employees who are now allowed to resume work.

He said the Department of the Interior and Local Government has been coordinating with LGUs to remind them that workers must not be forced to undergo rapid testing for Covid-19.

“The DILG is coordinating with LGUs that are imposing mandatory rapid test and is telling them that they should not make such a requirement,” Roque said.

Employers may test their workers for Covid-19, according to the interim guidelines on workplace prevention and control of the disease earlier released by the departments of Labor and Trade.

He said the government would welcome any move by employers who would volunteer to shoulder the costs of Covid-19 testing of their employees.

“If employers pay for the rapid test or RT-PCR test of their workers, we will not stop them. What is not allowed is to require workers to undergo a test before they can report for work,” he said.

RT-PCR tests are more accurate in detecting Covid-19 than rapid tests.*PNA


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