By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion on Monday said on Monday that an estimated 200 companies would participate in the Project ARK (Anti-body Rapid test Kit), which he leads together with the private sector, to help the government in testing efforts and in a bid to restart the economy in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We are bringing about one million rapid test kits by May, malaki ‘yan (that’s huge),” Concepcion said in a briefing in Malacañang.
“Para mabuksan ang ekonomya natin, more manufacturing, itong mga malls, public transportation, walang ibang solusyon dyan kundi mag-test, mag-test, mag-test, magtest (So we can open our economy to more manufacturing, malls, or public transportation, there is no other solution but to test, test and test),” he said.
Under Project ARK, Concepcion said they aim to conduct tests on 28,000 Filipinos per day using rapid test kits, which yield results faster that the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits, although less reliable, as raised by the Department of Health (DOH).
According to Concepcion, the conglomerates will prioritize their employees so they could determine whether or not they resume business operations. But eventually, they will reach out to local government units to aid in the mass testing efforts.
The private sector will also assist at least six provincial hospitals in improving their testing capacity to be able to handle and process test samples.
Concepcion said they will comply with the protocols of the DOH in carrying out Project ARK. Those who test positive for novel coronavirus in the rapid tests would still have to undergo PCR tests to confirm the results, he said.
“Our whole objective is to really focus on test, test, and test. And that will give us more visibility. Then the Cabinet or the government will be allowed to open up more of the economy,” he said.