The Department of Health (DOH) disapproved the proposal to mandate people who will participate in the filing of candidacy papers for the May 2022 elections to undergo a coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) antigen test.

“We do not recommend the rapid antigen test kits to be used as a screening test for people who will vote or for people who’re going to join events,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual news conference.

Earlier, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) mandated candidates for president, vice president, senator, and party-list seats to present a negative RT-PCR or antigen Covid-19 test, taken 24 hours before the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) from October 1 to 8. 

Moreover, Comelec personnel receiving the COC or certificate of nomination and acceptance (CONA), security personnel of Comelec, military and police officials as well as media personnel stationed in the COC filing were all mandated to show a negative test result. 

However, the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) recommends rapid antigen tests for the following purposes only:

  • targeted screening and diagnosis of suspected and probable COVID-19 cases
  • testing of patients in the hospital setting where the turnaround time is critical
  • targeted screening and diagnosis of suspect and probable cases in presumptive outbreaks where the result of the RT-PCR of one suspect has not yet been released and in settings where RT-PCR is not immediately available or when delayed release of result or prolonged turnaround time is expected (i.e., more than 48 hours)
  • local border screening at points of entry for individuals traveling from areas with a high daily positivity rate over a seven-day period
  • international border screening at points of entry. 


The HTAC said the RT-PCR is still the best standard testing for Covid-19.

Vergeire further added that they would coordinate with the Comelec regarding appropriate protocols to be implemented during the COC filing. Ronald Espartinez