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Manila vendors priority for swab tests

Pat C. Santos

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Vendors in the City of Manila will receive priority for swab tests at the newly opened real time-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) molecular laboratory at the Santa Ana Hospital.

The new facility, the second of its kind in the city, can accommodate at least 1,000 tests, adding to the 250-test capacity of another laboratory, also located at the same hospital.

Costs for the setting up of the new laboratory were shouldered by the Ayala Group of Companies.

Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, businessmen Jaime Augusto and Fernado Zobel de Ayala, Santa Ana Hospital director Dr. Grace Padilla and reprentatives from the Department of Health (DoH) and the Ayala Group witnessed the center’s opening.

The mayor said the new COVID-19 laboratory, inspected and approved by the DoH, World Health Organization and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, realizes his goal to better address the coronavirus disease.

While he acknowledged that treating a COVID-19 patient was expensive, he said the Manila City government continues to “shoulder all of the costs” because his constituents “deserve better things from the government.”

“Even if it’s expensive, it is the people’s money. They deserve better things from the government. Your city government, in our own little way, will not stop serving our fellow Manileños,” Domagoso said.

Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Ayala Group chief operating officer, believes supporting the local government’s efforts to test, trace and treat COVID-19 patients are critical to battling the pandemic.

“We support the national government’s efforts to update our testing, tracing and treatment capabilities. While we’re doing what we can to help at the national level, we also believe that supporting local governments is critical,” Ayala said.

The businessman said the Ayala Group has always “felt a strong connection in the City of Manila, given the fact that our company started here back in 1834.”

“With several of our investments in transportation, infrastructure, financial services and health care taking place in this city during our company’s early history, we’re always grateful for any opportunity to work with all of you,” Ayala said.

“Health has now become everyone’s priority given the continuing challenges brought about by COVID-19. It is our firm belief that responding to the crisis requires a holistic approach with the private sector and government working together,” he added.

Lacuna emphasized the importance of the Ayala Group’s “generous donation” in the battle against the pandemic, saying that it will increase the capability of Santa Ana Hospital to test as many patients as possible.

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