PH’s second mega swabbing center opens in Taguig City

Published May 6, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Martin Sadongdong

In a bid to further intensify the country’s mass testing capability, the second mega swabbing center in the Philippines was opened on Wednesday at the Enderun Colleges in McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.


Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, chairman of the National Action Plan (NAP) against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), said the facility will prioritize the testing of repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine procedures in isolation centers in Metro Manila and other nearby provinces.

“This will add to our capacity to test ‘yung mga OFWs na nandito sa Metro Manila para maipadala na natin sila sa kanilang mga probinsya (This will add to our capacity to test the OFWs here in Metro Manila so that we can send them back to their provinces),” he said.

The facility has 56 testing booths which will be manned by at least 400 swabbers that will undergo a half-day training from the Department of Health (DOH).

The facility is expected to conduct 1,500 tests per day.

At present, there are 23,480 OFWs undergoing isolation in various quarantine facilities.

More than 44,000 OFWs are expected to arrive in the coming weeks and the government is targeting to have them all tested to prevent a potential “second wave” of virus infections.

Meanwhile, Lorenzana said the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has approved the deployment of 64 military personnel to act as barcoders and encoders. at the mega swabbing center in Taguig City.

Some personnel from the Philippine National Police (PNP) may also be tapped to augment the need for human resources, he said.

“‘Yung barcoder at encoder, we will supply people from the AFP. Hindi naman kailangan malaking expertise ‘yun but they will be trained to become barcoders and encoders to assist the swabbers para mabilis ang pagprocess ng swabbing (We will supply people from the AFP to act as barcoders and encoders. It does not really need a big expertise but they will be trained to become barcoders and encoders to assist the swabbers so we can hasten the swabbing process),” he added.

Joining Lorenzana in inspecting the facility were Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Interior and the Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., Bases and Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO Vince Dizon and Taguig City Mayor Lino Cayetano.

On Monday, the government opened its first-ever mega swabbing center at the Palacio de Manila along Roxas Boulevard. It has 64 testing booths.

The government is eyeing to open two more mega swabbing centers, one at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City and another at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan province.

The four swabbing centers can collectively conduct 5,000 tests per day, according to Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19.

At present, the government is capable of conducting around 5,000 to 6,000 tests daily but once the four swabbing centers are operationalized, it is seen to increase to 30,000 tests per day by May 30, said BCDA’s Dizon, the concurrent deputy chief implementer of NTF COVID-19.

“Hopefully, we can put up more of these testing facilities para ‘yung ating capacity palaging handa (so that our capacity will always be ready),” Lorenzana said.