San Miguel Corporation has teamed up with 17 local government units in Metro Manila to put up more testing booths in areas with high-density of COVID-19 cases as well as donate test kits to allow the poorest communities access to free testing.
SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang said the booths would be scattered strategically around areas in most dire need so our local officials can easily ask people to get tested. This, he said, will complement the national government’s expanded testing efforts, which is focused on building “mega swabbing centers” in key, major commercial areas to test, initially, returning overseas Filipino workers.
The company’s aim is to help flatten the curve in our less fortunate barangays, especially in areas where there have been outbreaks. Our less-fortunate countrymen are really vulnerable, because their living conditions make it harder to observe social distancing and other preventive measures. So the company is focusing their efforts on helping them.
Ang added that while local governments have initiated testing efforts and also have their own budgets to do so, SMC’s donation would help expand testing capacity, particularly as the government considers the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine in some parts of Luzon. At the same time, Ang said SMC is moving ahead with plans to put up its own testing laboratory to test its 70,000 employees and extended workforce to help government in its efforts to test aggressively and gradually reopen the economy.
“Apart from donating more test kits, we are increasing donation of high-capacity testing machines to help significantly increase the number of tests that can be processed daily to contain the spread of the virus,”Ang said. He added “Testing booths are just one component of the entire infrastructure for an efficient widespread testing. We need to produce more test kits, and make testing affordable, if not free, to the hardest-hit communities. We also need enough equipment to be able to process all these tests. We have to mobilize all these components to be able to test at scale,” he added.
SMC is also donating three more sets of testing equipment, consisting of RT-PCR machines and automated RNA extraction machines, to specific health facilities and institutions in Metro Manila, including the National Center for Mental Health in its home city of Mandaluyong.
“There are many people and sectors in need of help today. We will make sure they are not overlooked or neglected,” he added.