Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Senator Richard Gordon maintained that there is “no problem” using a property located in Clark, Pampanga as a molecular laboratory for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Gordon said this after the Commission on Audit (COA) questioned the validity of PRC’s free use of the said property. “Walang problema iyan (there’s no problem there), I don’t think it will be a problem,” he said during a virtual press conference on Wednesday, June 23, for the first year anniversary celebration of the PRC Subic Molecular Laboratory.
“Napakahalaga na malaman natin may (It’s important to recognize that there is a) pandemic, it’s not the time to be bureaucratic,” Gordon added.
COA raised concerns on the memorandum of agreement (MOA) which grants PRC free use of the lot where molecular laboratory was put up. State auditors also expressed doubts on the “validity and enforceability” of the said MOA which not signed by Gordon.
Gordon, on the other hand, said that this will be an issue – noting that the PRC does not receive money from the government. “Wala kaming nakukuhang pera sa gobyerno, kami ang nilapitan mag-test, kami ang namili ng nga makina, P35 million ang isang gamit niyan kasama equipment (We do not receive any money from the government, they reached out to use so we can do the testing, we bought the machines, spent about P35 million including the equipment),” he added.
Meanwhile, PRC’s Molecular Laboratory in Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) celebrated its first year anniversary this month.
During the virtual presser, SBMA administrator Atty.Wilma Eisma thanked Gordon for helping the establishment of the swabbing center and molecular tests in the SBMA Freeport.
In particular, Eisma expressed gratitude to Gordon for providing the resources for the laboratory. “This is the first step for us to go back to at least some normalcy and most especially for the economy of Subic to get back rolling,” she said.
“It’s important that the workers are safe as they go back to their workplaces,” Eisma said. “We cannot over emphasize the need to be safe all the time,” she added.
Gordon said that the test output of the said laboratory has reached 86,507 in the last year. “I can only pray that it will go up and soon, it will also have a vaccination center,” he added.