The Philippines has the best Covid-19 testing policy in Asia, with its pandemic response deserving of a “very good grade,” Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the country exhibited its “biggest strength” in its pandemic response through rigorous testing.

“We clearly have the best testing policy in the whole of Asia and probably in the whole world because we have exceeded three million and as a percentage of total population, lubus-lubusan na po iyan doon sa sinasabi nilang three percent na dapat na ma-test ang population at patuloy pa po tayo,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.

“So, dadami po tayo and I think we will have the highest number of testing, one of the highest in the whole world. So, that’s clearly, our biggest strength,” he added.

The Department of Health in its Sept. 15 bulletin reported that 2,977,106 Filipinos have had their Covid-19 tests validated. Johns Hopkins University data shows that the country has administered 3,116,131 tests.

The country’s total Covid-19 infections neared 270,000 on Tuesday, with 57,392 active cases, 4,663 deaths and 207,352 recoveries.

Despite having a rigid testing policy, Roque admitted that the country’s contact tracing needs to be improved.

“We need to brush up po in our tracing at ngayong na-approve na po ang Bayanihan 2 and we will have 5 billion allotted for additional tracers sa tingin ko po we will have major in roads and successes using also the Magalong formula,” he said.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government previously announced that the government would hire 50,000 additional contact tracers after the signing of Bayanihan 2.

Roque also noted that the country retained control over its health system amid the pandemic and that the country’s Covid-19 mortality rate remained low at 1.7 percent.

“So all in all, I think we deserve a very good grade. I would give it a grade of 85 percent,” he said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro