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Did Harry Roque lie again with Philippines having free COVID-19 testing?

Harry Roque has claimed that Covid testing is “virtually free” for everyone yet the public says otherwise, what is really going on?

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday, April 5, had claimed that Covid-19 testing is virtually free.

However, many netizens do not believe Roque. In fact, the Secretary has been called out to share how he got infected by the coronavirus. It can be recalled that on March 15, Roque claimed that he tested positive for Covid. He then said that he is asymptomatic and currently in isolation while attending press briefings. But he was exposed as he was not in a regular isolation center. Instead, he was in a posh hotel.

With all the lies the Secretary became known for, his statement during an interview with Karen Davila in ANC’s “Headstart,” was kind of malicious for many netizens. During said interview, Roque was asked by Davila what is the government’s response to the calls of Vice President Leni Robredo and Marikina Second District Rep. Stella Quimbo to hasten free Covid testing.

Davila also echoed the public’s concern that the testing became a business as private laboratories have conducted examinations.

Roque insisted that Covid testing is free. It is the government’s plan all along to make testing available for everyone.

“Part of what we want to offer people is free diagnostic, including PCR tests. Now, I want to point out that testing is virtually free. If you are an economic frontliner, a medical frontliner. If you had exposure or if you had symptoms,” answered Roque.

“So it is only asymptomatics, without exposure, who want to be tested, that will have to pay the required fee. But all you have to declare is you have been exposed, you have close contact, and that will be paid by Philhealth,” he added.

Roque then took a swipe at Robredo for calling out the Duterte administration in terms of free testing.

“So I don’t know what VP Robredo is saying. Because we have this protocol. That is why the Philippine Red Cross has been billing Philhealth billions and billions of pesos. Because it is the government that shoulders PCR testing,” said Roque.

Human rights advocate Philip Jamilla clapped back at Roque’s statement. Jamilla said that the Secretary was tested 35 times just so he could have leisure time. Meanwhile, ordinary workers have to pay in order to get tested.

Journalist Barnaby Lo also contradicted Roque. The journalist has shown proof that in order to receive free Covid tests, a person must have symptoms first. Hence, Roque’s statement is contradicting to what is actually happening since it is not free for everyone.

A netizen also proved the journalist’s comment on Roque’s claim. The netizen said they have to shoulder the PCR test numerous times that her father was investigated for possible exposure to Covid.

And not just Jamilla and Lo who do not believe Roque, many netizens have also contradicted Roque’s statement that Covid testing is “virtually free.” In reality, many have paid thousands of peso just to get tested.

Meanwhile, a netizen shared that they did not have an exit swab test to ensure that they were negative for the coronavirus. The reason is that the test kits were insufficient. As a result, they were forced to undergo self-isolation once again.

Roque had been discredited by many netizens, proving that there was no free PCR test for the masses being exposed to the deadly virus. With his statement, and many refusing to believe him, is there really free Covid testing for Filipinos?


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