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6,000 Makati residents to undergo pooled swab testing

6,000 Makati residents to undergo pooled swab testing

MANILA, Philippines — Around 6,000 residents in Makati City are set to undergo pooled reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing for COVID-19 during the seven-day run, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion announced Wednesday.

According to Concepcion, the initiative will be a "game-changer" for the Philippines since it will reduce the cost of an individual RT-PCR test to P600 to P750. 

"The private sector will fund a pooled PCR testing pilot for selected cities and municipalities in NCR and CALABARZON and we will bring more private sector companies to support more cities," said Concepcion.

"The more testing we do, the greater information we have on where the virus is in our communities and areas of control,” he added. 

Makati City is one of the cities in Metro Manila to pilot the program, with drivers of public utility vehicles and market vendors as among the first to try.

Makati Mayor Abigail Binay said that her constituents will not only benefit from the initiative but also the business community who could not afford the expensive P3,500 PCR test.

"Hopefully, this will encourage our companies to open up, our employees will be assured that they are not spreading the virus as well," Binay said during the launch of the program.

For private sector chief implementor for ARK-PCR Rep. Janette Garin, the pooled testing is not all about drastically reducing the price of COVID-19 testing.   

"It also deals with protecting our healthcare workers, hastening the turnaround time, and making our laboratories the windows that can open and guide us [to] where these viruses are," Garin said.

"Go Negosyo and the partnership with BDO has made possible for us the circle with the entry of the city of Makati,” she added.

Companies that pledged their support in conducting NCR-wide COVID-19 testing include National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, PLDT Smart Foundation, RFM Corporation, LT Group, Wilcon Depot, First Philippine Holdings Corporation & Lopez Group of Companies, GT Capital Holdings, Yazaki-Torres Manufacturing Inc., Mercury Drug Corporation, Unilab Corporation, Filipino Chinese Community Calamity Fund, among others.

Other private sector partners are Penshoppe, CDO Foodsphere, Angkas, Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc., Lazada Philippines, Universal Leaf Philippines Inc., PTC Group, Century Pacific Food Inc. and Lloyd Laboratories.