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Red Cross opens Covid-19 testing lab in Batangas

BY JOENALD MEDINA RAYOS

BATANGAS City – “THE Batangueños are the type of people who are worthy of the support of any organization like the Philippine Red Cross. Ang mga taong maalam pahalagahan ang sarili at nagsusumikap ay hindi mahirap tulungan; and that’s the reason why we are here today to inaugurate a new molecular laboratory to test the Batangueños and its neighboring provinces in our fight against the corona virus pandemic.”

Thus, Senator Richard J. Gordon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) said as he led the inauguration of the new molecular laboratory at the PRC-Batangas Chapter Compound in Batangas City, Wednesday afternoon.

Gordon said the facility, equipped with four (4) real-time polymerace chain reaction (RT-PCR) machines and two (2) ribonucleic acid (RNA) extractor machines, than can run a total combined 4,000 test a day, has the biggest testing capacity in the CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) region today, and may cover other neighboring provinces.

This development brings to 32,000 tests a day the total testing capacity of the six (6) molecular laboratories installed by the PRC in Metro Manila and key cities of the country which are all certified as an accredited COVID-19 testing centers of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

“We are glad to have this laboratory running because more people should get tested. Testing is the key to get our economy going again and this is more so, here in Batangas and in the whole region, with its different economic zones, techno-parks, industrial zones and others,” he said.

Gordon explained that thru testing, carriers of the virus can be separated from those who are not and thus stop further transmission. Equally important, he added, is that testing will also enable people to get back to their jobs.

Meanwhile, Sec. Vivencio Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), grabbed the opportunity to convey to the PRC through Chairman Gordon, the gratitude and appreciation of the IATF to the bold move and selfless support of the PRC to the fight against the pandemic.

Batangas’ 5th District Congressman Marvey Mariño, however, said that Batangas City is the worthy recipient of this project of the PRC. “With all the programs and initiatives against the CioVid-19 pandemic that we are implementing here in Batangas, especially here in Batangas City, we are very thankful that we have here now a readily available testing laboratory that will enable us to quickly implement necessary actions in handling COVID-19 cases as we don’t have to wait long for results.

‘We have already prepared a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the PRC-Batangas for the immediate testing of swab samples of our constituents, and we are hoping that this development will help us more to curb the continuing increase of cases among our fellow Batangueños,” Batangas City mayor Beverly Rose A. Dimacuha said in an interview.

According to PRC-Batangas Chapter administrator Ronald Generoso, each local government unit (LGU) who are willing to partner with the PRC molecular laboratory must execute an agreement with the chapter. “We are also looking into the possibility of charging only the lowest rate which the LGUs can charged to PhilHealth thru their accredited Rural Health Units (RHUs),” Generoso said.

Last month of May 2020, the LT Group Inc., the holding firm of taipan Lucio C. Tan, donated the P15-million bio-molecular laboratory to the PRC.

LT Group President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Tan said that aside from augmenting government’s testing capacity, the new lab aims to quickly identify, isolate and refer Covid-19 positive patients for proper treatment.

Aside from the Batangas facility, the PRC has also opened molecular laboratories in its former national headquarters in Port Area, Manila, which can run 14,000 tests; Subic and Clark, 6,000 tests; and two in its headquarters in Mandaluyong, which can finish 8,000 tests a day.

The PRC is also constructing and about to open similar molecular laboratories of varying capacities in UPLB in Laguna, Lucena City in Quezon, Albay, Cebu City, and Zamboanga among others.

Also present during the Batangas lab opening were Congresswoman Eileen Ermita-Buhain of First District, Congw. Ma. Teresa Collantes of Third District, Congw. Lianda Bolilia of 4th District, San Jose mayor and League of Municipalities of the Philippines-Batangas Chapter president Ben Patron; members of the Board of Directors of PRC-Batangas and Mr. Jose Gabriel Olives, CFO of Lucio Tan Group of Companies. |-BALIKAS News Network