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Negros Oriental inaugurates COVID-19 molecular laboratory

EDC Negros Oriental facility head, Debonaire Mamhot (left), recently turned over the RT-PCR machines to Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo (right) and the Negros Oriental IATF group. Raffy Cabristante photo

Negros Oriental now has a much needed molecular laboratory that will soon be conducting 500 COVID-19 tests a day.

Negros Oriental provincial government, Energy Development Corp. (EDC), and Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital (NOPH) officials inaugurated the province’s first molecular testing center today, October 28

The testing facility will enable more timely reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing of COVID-19 swab samples from local residents once it completes all accreditation requirements and gets the green light from the Department of Health, Richard Tantoco, EDC president and chief operating officer, said in a speech via Zoom.

NOPH will operate and maintain the facility with P11 million worth of equipment, including two state-of-the-art RT–PCR machines, that EDC donated, he said.

Tantoco said with the two RT-PCR machines that can conduct up to 500 COVID-19 tests per day, with the results released within the day unlike before when it took up to 10 days for Negrenses to get them from the nearest testing centers in Cebu City.

He reiterated that EDC is committed to uplift the lives of the residents in its partner communities and to help them get through this COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are thankful to have a significant role in putting up the province’s first testing facility. It is our way of showing our unwavering commitment to help the Negrenses thrive amid this health and economic crisis and our solid support to the leadership of Governor Roel Degamo, whom we consider as one of our regenerative partners,” Tantoco said.

The molecular laboratory agreement was signed by Degamo, Tantaco, Hospital Incident Command System Commander and Chair of IATF–EID Committee on Health Dr. Liland Estacion, NOPH head Dr. Mark Angelo Llosa, and EDC Assistant Vice President and Corporate Support Functions head Regina Victoria Pascual, Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Relations head Allan V. Barcena, and Negros CSR head Norreen Bautista in September.

EDC owns and operates the 222.5-megawatt geothermal facility, the company’s second biggest site located in Negros Oriental that has been providing an uninterrupted supply of clean, renewable power to Negros Island and the rest of the Visayas region for over 37 years, Bautista said.*

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