PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte said his government would buy two million rapid test kits for COVID-19 as part of a plan to boost capacity to contain the virus.

In a late night address on Monday, the President said he would buy the test kits against the advice of health experts who have questioned their accuracy.

Mr. Duterte noted that the local Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve the use of medical supplies by the public, but he said he would “risk” the purchase of test kits approved by the US FDA.

“I am clearing the way by ordering the purchase,” Mr. Duterte said. “They can proceed to buy it immediately.”

The Department of Health (DoH) earlier said rapid test kits are not accurate and have yielded false results.

The local FDA has approved 13 rapid test kits that must be used by medical professionals.

Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., the country’s anti-COVID-19 chief enforcer, told Mr. Duterte during the televised address that the government should buy both rapid and standard test kits to avoid false results.

He said the government would buy two million rapid test kits and 900,000 standard polymerase chain reaction test kits worth more than P3 billion.

He told Mr. Duterte the law bars the Health department and Philippine Health Insurance Corp. from buying equipment without the approval of the Health Technology Assessment Council.

But the government may buy the rapid test kits through the Office of Civil Defense, he added.

In his address, Mr. Duterte also warned local government officials they could be arrested for violating social distancing protocols.

The president said he had heard reports of people holding boxing matches and gatherings, as well as of crowded public markets.

He also said he would ask the Justice department to file charges against hospitals who refuse patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) President George T. Barcelon welcomed the state plan to buy rapid test kits, which he said could be used by the regions to change their quarantine strategies.

“The enhanced community quarantine can be modified and it’s a good development for manufacturers and other industries so they can slowly reopen,” he said at a separate briefing yesterday. — Gillian M. Cortez