The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has partnered with SM Supermalls to make saliva RT-PCR testing more accessible by opening on Tuesday drive-thru saliva RT-PCR collection sites in SM Megamall and SM Mall of Asia.
“Kahit dumating na ang bakuna, importante parin ang pag-tetest para labanan ang Covid-19. Kaya gumagawa ang PRC ng paraan upang mapadali at mapabilis ang pag-tetest sa ating mga kababayan [Even if we have the vaccine already, testing is still important to fight Covid-19. That is why the PRC is making ways to make testing easy and accessible to our fellowmen]. We are heading towards nationwide saliva RT-PCR testing to help industries and schools open in this new normal,” PRC Chairman and CEO Senator Richard J. Gordon said during the ceremonial signing of the memorandum of agreement between PRC and SM.
The signing was attended by PRC Secretary General Elizabeth Zavalla, SM Supermalls President Steven T. Tan, Senior Vice President for Operations Bien C. Mateo, and other executives from PRC and SM.
PRC will have its first two collection sites located in SM Megamall, Mega A bus bay at Edsa Mandaluyong, and at the 5 Ecom Open Parking in Mall of Asia, Pasay City.
The said locations will only serve as specimen collection sites for the saliva RT-PCR test. The samples will then be forwarded to Red Cross laboratories for testing.
PRC will start to roll out the saliva RT-PCR testing nationwide as chapters that will serve as saliva sample collecting stations undergo training to ensure the safety of the collecting personnel and the quality of collected samples.
On Monday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the agency is still awaiting the study conducted by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) before other laboratories can use it.
“There is a standing order from Secretary [Francisco T.] Duque to Director Celia Carlos of RITM last week that they should be able to finish the study for the validation of saliva test as an alternative spicemen within two weeks. So, kung titingnan natin ang order na ‘yun[ If you are going to look at the order] next week hopefully.