San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has teamed up with 17 local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila to put up more testing booths in areas with high-density of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases, as well as donate test kits to allow the poorest communities access to free testing.
SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon 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.”
Ang said this will complement the national government’s expanded testing efforts, which is focused on building “mega swabbing centers” in major commercial areas to initially test returning overseas Filipino workers.
“This is the best way we can help our local governments ramp up or expand their testing capacity–in particular, for poorer barangays and communities, even as national government takes care of building our mega swabbing centers, which for now will be focused on our returning OFWs,” he said in a statement Tuesday.
He 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.
Ang said SMC is also moving ahead with plans to put up its own testing laboratory to test its 70,000 employees and extended workforce to help the 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,” he said.
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.