By Jeffrey Damicog

Iloilo First District Rep. Janette Garin on Tuesday urged the Senate to schedule the hearings on House Bill 6865, the proposed Crushing COVID-19 Act.

“We appeal to the Senate to schedule this as soon as possible because the Philippines has started to open,” she said during an interview over CNN Philippines.

“When we open, we have to make sure we don’t have the second wave or a second lockdown,” said the former health secretary who authored the bill.

She said the bill has already hurdled the second reading at the House of Representatives on Monday, June 1.

“I thank the leadership of the House for that. It will be scheduled for third reading supposedly on Thursday,” she said.

The bill seeks to pool baseline Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing for persons who are vulnerable to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“They will be pooled into 10 and they will undergo one PCR testing. If you have a thousand workers in a company, you swab all of them, you have one hundred tests,” she explained

“The results will actually be less kits being utilized, maximizing government resources, early test results and most importantly early isolation,” Garin added.

She lauded the decision of the Department of Health (DOH) to distinguish fresh and late cases of COVID-19.

“I laud the DOH for coming out and admitting that gap although it is not really their fault partly because there should have been alignment since day one,” the legislator said.

Garin said “it should have been ironed out even before the start because if you commission laboratories to do testing, you inform them about the information that you need, that they need to submit.”

The former health chief said the real figures will make “strategists and the people understand the degree of infection.”