Lopez-led renewable energy company Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is taking a huge step to help Negros Oriental put up its own COVID-19 testing facility by donating about P8.5-million worth of equipment, including two state-of-the art Real Time Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) machines.
This initiative will be made official today through a virtual signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and Deed of Donation led by Deputy Chief Implementer of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) against COVID-19, Secretary Vivencio “Vince” B. Dizon; Negros Oriental Governor Roel Ragay Degamo, Vice Governor Edward Mark Macias, Board Member Jack Raymond; Municipality of Valencia Mayor Edgar Teves; EDC President and Chief Operating Officer Richard B. Tantoco, Vice President and Chief Finance Officer Erwin O.Avante, Vice President and Head of EDC’s Facility Operations Engr. Emeterio Busmeon, Asst Vice President and Corporate Support Functions Head Regina Victoria J. Pascual, Corporate Social Responsibility-Public Relations Head Atty. Allan V. Barcena, and Negros CSR Head Norreen G. Bautista; Hospital Incident Command System Commander and Chair of IATF-EID Committee on Health Dr. Liland Estacion; Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital (NOPH) Head Dr. Mark Angelo Llosa, and NOPH Molecular Laboratory Head Dr. Nikko Paolo Cablao whose respective organizations have partnered to establish the province’s first Negros Oriental Molecular Diagnostic Center.
The facility aims to do mass testing for COVID-19 and gather all the necessary information to find ways to flatten the curve and manage the pandemic in the area.
“Today marks another milestone as we hold our ceremonial MOA signing via Zoom for the first time with our Negros stakeholders,” said Atty.Barcena, head of EDC’s CSR-PR team that spearheads the fulfillment of the company's commitment to this project. “While we see virtual events as part of the new normal, our almost 40-year partnership with Negros Oriental proves that this initiative is part of our commitment to work together even if we are apart to help the province thrive and not just survive this COVID-19 pandemic.”
Valencia, Negros Oriental has been home to EDC’s 222.5-megawatt (MW) geothermal facility, the company’s 2nd biggest facility and a model for compact development and greening, for almost 40 years. The facility has been uninterrupted supply of clean, renewable, Geo 24/7 to Negros Island and the rest of the Visayas region amid the pandemic.
EDC’s donation is a critical component of the project considering that the RT-PCR is the standard testing method used to detect SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19. The provincial government of Negros Oriental shall provide the necessary supervision, technical support, and the needed fixtures, furniture and facilities for the Molecular Testing Laboratory, as well as execute all pertinent documents as part of its responsibilities to the project.
Meanwhile, NOPH shall operate and manage the facility and provide the appropriate staff who are proficient in Molecular Diagnostic Techniques, as provided by the guidelines issued by the Department of Health. It will ensure that the laboratory shall only use Food and Drug Authority (FDA) registered testing kits, reagents and devices, and that RT-PCR machine and all other equipment in the Molecular Testing Laboratory are properly maintained.
All three parties are working double-time to make the facility operational soon for the benefit of all Negrosanons.