On June 27, the country inaugurated its largest molecular laboratory capable of detecting COVID-19 and other contagious diseases at the former Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Headquarters in Port Area Manila. Through the initiatives of the Philippine Red Cross, the project was partly funded by Metrobank and GT Capital Holdings through a PHP 18 million donation, coursed through its corporate social responsibility arm Metrobank Foundation (MBFI) and Ty family’s GT Foundation (GTFI). The donation went for the construction and equipping the facility with two automated extraction machines for testing of samples. With additional contributions from the Australian Embassy and the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FFCCCII), the laboratory has an overall capacity to test 14,000 samples a day.
The ceremonies were led by PRC chairman Senator Richard Gordon, Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Inter-Agency Task Force Deputy Implementer Undersecretary Vivencio Dizon, Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson AO, GTFI president and Federal Land chairman Alfred Ty, MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña and FFCCCII president Henry Bon Liong.
“We have been working hard in supporting various initiatives to address and combat the effects of the pandemic since the start of the lockdown. We advocate and support the conduct of “Test, Trace, and Treat” or T3 in order to identify the various factors in the development and mitigation of the spread of virus which could lead in flattening the curve,” said Mr. Ty.
The laboratory will also go a long way in ensuring early detection and efficient treatment of other contagious and deadly diseases such as cancer, human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis, dengue, malaria, tuberculosis, Zika virus among others. The donation was part of the P220million contribution by Metrobank Group and GT Capital Holdings to fund and support efforts to combat the pandemic and help those in need. The amount was allocated for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to benefit healthcare and security frontliners; support for the production of RT-PRC testing kits through the UP National Institutes of Health; “Project Ugnayan” led by the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation; distribution of meals and food packs to underprivileged families; construction and equipping of molecular laboratories for the testing of cases in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Red Cross, and Ayala Group; and Go Negosyo’s Project ARK (Antibody Rapid test Kits) of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship Foundation. Just recently, Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation donated 30 VIOS units for the mobility of healthcare frontliners of DOH and local government hospitals.