The Ayala group of companies officially turned over to Marinduque the province’s first and only molecular lab which is expected to drastically cut down the current 7 to 14 day waiting period for Covid testing done through Manila-based laboratories.
Housed within the Marinduque Provincial Hospital in the municipality of Boac, the laboratory was designed and constructed under the supervision of AC Health and Ayala Foundation, with the assistance of Makati Development Corporation, the construction arm of Ayala Land Inc.
Since the pandemic started, Marinduque depended on laboratories in Metro Manila, particularly the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, to confirm COVID-19 cases. Because of the relative isolation of the island province and its distance from testing laboratories, cases often took over a week or more to confirm, which posed a challenge to local efforts to contain the spread of the virus. Once operational, the new molecular laboratory will significantly improve and speed up the testing capacity of the province.
The new facility was received by Marinduque Governor Presbitero Velasco Jr. in a virtual turnover event. Representing the Ayala group were Paolo Borromeo, President and CEO of AC Health; Ruel Maranan, President of Ayala Foundation; and Solomon Hermosura, Chief Legal Officer of Ayala Corporation.
The Marinduque molecular laboratory is part of the Ayala group’s continuing initiatives that support the public sector’s COVID-19 efforts, particularly in improving testing capacity. In the past year Ayala constructed laboratories and quarantine facilities, provided testing equipment, and donated testing kits, among others.
“This molecular laboratory is a very vital tool for Marinduque to be able to contain and eventually defeat the very deadly virus,” said Gov. Velasco. “We were very glad [when the proposal] to set up the molecular laboratory was relayed to us. Now we have the laboratory constructed. Indeed this is a very important step in our plan to contain and eventually rid the province of the deadly virus.”
“AC Health and the Ayala Group are delighted to partner with the Province of Marinduque,” said
Borromeo. “Testing is a vital component of the country’s public health response, and we are happy to support Marinduque’s initiatives to improve access to testing. We believe that the public and private sectors must work together to beat this virus, save lives, and accelerate recovery.”
“It is our privilege to partner with the Provincial Government of Marinduque for meaningful and relevant initiatives like the molecular laboratory project, as well as various education and community programs,” said Maranan. “We continue to stand with the people of Marinduque, as they stay resilient in the face of various challenges.”Aside from constructing the molecular laboratory, the Ayala group also provided various forms of assistance for students, teachers, and health front-liners in Marinduque in the past month.
Under the Brigada ng Ayala program, Ayala Foundation distributed at least 675 hygiene kits, 100 Globe Home Prepaid WiFI kits, and 4,000 children’s books (from a donation by UBS Securities Philippines.), to be used by students and teachers from Boac Central School and 10 public elementary schools in the town of Torrijos. Teachers and students also received vitamin supplements. Brigada ng Ayala is the Ayala group’s unified support for the Department of Education’s Brigada Eskwela and Oplan Balik Eskwela programs.
The foundation also turned over 1,250 face masks and 250 personal protective equipment (PPEs) for use by health front-liners at the Marinduque Provincial Hospital.
In addition, the town of Torrijos is one of the sites for ProFuturo, a digital education program implemented in the Mimaropa region by Ayala Foundation. ProFuturo, which is implemented in 10 public elementary schools in Marinduque, uses digital technology to provide access to quality, transformational, and universal education, and through it, access to equal opportunities for students. It focuses on enhancing teachers’ skills, methods, and competencies, and leveraging on digital technologies.