Mining Firms Fund Molecular Testing Laboratory Facility in Surigao
Surigao City opens the first Molecular Testing Laboratory (MTL), a project started by Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC).
The new facility aims to process some 2,000 specimens every day with the use of a reverse transcript-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). This will give faster diagnostic results of suspected COVID cases and is also expected to enhance the response of the province against the dreaded disease.
The facility has 42 testing machines, and aside from COVID, can also test HIV, leukaemia, and other forms of cancer.
Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation (THPAL) and subsidiaries of NAC, such as the Cagdianao Mining Corp. (CMC) based in Dinagat Islands and the Taganito Mining Corp. (TMC) based in Claver, SDN, has funded the 18M facility.
According to Jose Bayani “JB” Baylon, Vice President for Corporate Communication for NAC, this facility is the first of a kind funded by a mining firm.
“Our NAC affiliates were among the first to respond to the mining communities by expending some P50M during the first months of the pandemic securing food and basic first-aid materials including tests kits, and we figured what better way to serve the communities of SDN than its own lab to hasten the process of identifying the cases of infection and be able to respond accordingly,” Baylon explains.
For his part, Red Cross Chairman and Senator Richard Gordon thanks the local government and the THPAL for establishing this laboratory. “This lab can be the Eastern Mindanao Warehouse in Mindanao not only for testing but for research and hopefully we can start our own vaccination program here,” he said.
SDN Vice Governor Geed Gokiangkee, meanwhile, said that this is a better Christmas gift for the people of Surigao, saying that the month of October 2020 saw a rise in COVID cases.