DAVAO DE ORO – Ramping up the efforts to curb the COVID-19 threat, the Provincial Government of Davao de Oro has partnered with the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) of the University of the Philippines-Mindanao, and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) XI for the planned construction of a COVID-19 testing laboratory at the Davao de Oro Provincial Hospital-Montevista (DdOPH).

The ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was recently signed yesterday, June 22, 2020 (Monday), at the PGO Conference Room, Capitol Complex. Under the agreement, PGC UP-Mindanao and DOST XI obliged to capacitate the facility in accordance with the guidelines from the Department of Health (DOH). They are also to provide biosafety and molecular diagnostics trainings for its future facility personnel.

“We would like to thank everyone for being part of this project and I’m very proud to hold the province as one of our partners who came early in initiating this project. I hope this will be the beginning of a partnership that we’re going to strengthen further,” Digal said.

Governor Tyron Uy also stated, “Kinahanglan jud ta mag establish ug atung kaugalingong testing laboratory aron magsilbi natu kining weapon to fight this unseen enemy, because we cannot see them unless we test them, ug dili kita angay mabalaka kay aduna’y plano ang probinsya inubanan sa dakong tabang ug suporta sa atuang partners aron masuta ang risgadong dala sa COVID-19.” (“We really have to establish our own testing laboratory as this will serve as our weapon to fightthis unseen enemy, because we cannot see them unless we test them, and we should not have to worry because the province has a plan and we have partners who are willing to help and support us in mitigating the risks that COVID-19 has posed.”)

To date, the province has eleven cumulative COVID-19 cases—eight being current active cases, plus three recoveries.

There are only two accredited COVID-19 testing labs in Mindanao, the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City, and Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Tagum City. PLGU Davao de Oro aims to operationalize the testing lab by August, with its budget drawn from the Bayanihan Grant to the Provinces.

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