At least three senators questioned the Department of Health (DOH) over the sudden spike of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) recoveries in the country. 

The senators were reacting to Thursday’s reported 38,075 recoveries in a single day due to what the Health Department calls “enhanced data reconciliation efforts with the local government units.” 

Senator Francis Pangilinan demanded transparency from the DOH, saying the agency should refrain from “doctoring” and “massaging” its data to make it appear that the government is not losing its battle against the pandemic.

“May himala ba? May magic? Ang mga doktor dapat nagpapagaling ng pasyente, hindi nagdudoktor ng numero at impormasyon,” Pangilinan said. 

Earlier this month, the department started implementing a “mass recovery” adjustment following the “symptoms-based strategy” of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The mass recovery adjustment reclassifies mild and asymptomatic patients as recovered without the need for further testing once they no longer show Covid-19 symptoms, to which Pangilinan said is dangerous as it gives patients a false sense of security. 

“Makakapanghawa at mas maraming magkakasakit pag ang maysakit ay tinawag na ‘recovered’ kung hindi naman ito na-test. Patayin ba ang taumbayan ang gustong mangyari ng gobyerno,” Pangilinan said. 

Senator Risa Hontiveros also demanded the DOH’s transparency over the increased Covid-19 recoveries.

“Clear communication is what will earn people’s trust. The Department of Health needs to fix their communication with the public,” Hontiveros said. 

Hontiveros stressed the need to inform the public about the “real” health-situation of the country, saying that the Filipino people are “anxious and tired.” 

“Data is vital. Hindi tayo makakatugon nang maayos kung hindi natin alam ang kumpletong larawan ng problema. People are anxious and tired. Huwag na nating dagdagan, DOH,” she said.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto called on the DOH to provide a better explanation of the methodology they used to evaluate the recoveries, citing the need for a third-party review from the perspective of academics. 

“Let academics vet and validate it for our enlightenment, to confirm if the science is solid. We urgently need this third-party review,” Recto said. 

“Truth is as important as testing, tracing, and treatment in fighting the pandemic. Reality cannot be altered by changing the formula just to arrive at a certain conclusion,” he added. Jayziel Khim Budino