May 13, 2020

No let up as SMC boosts COVID-19 support drive

FIRST the testing machines, now comes the testing booths and testing kits.

There's no let-up for San Miguel Corporation (SMC) as far as extending help and support to combat the coronavirus pandemic is concerned as it now ties up with all local government units within the National Capital Region (NCR) to help soften the impact of the current health crisis.

The giant conglomerate firm which owns the PBA franchises of Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel, and Magnolia, donated testing booths and testing kits in an effort to complement the national government's expanded testing on COVID-19 cases.

SMC earlier donated high-capacity COVID-19 machines to help boost the country's testing capacity by 11,000 per day.

"This is the best way we can help our local governments ramp up or expand their testing capacity - in particular, for poorest barangays and communities, even as the national government takes care of building our mega swabbing centers, which for now will be focused on our returning OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers)," said SMC President and COO Ramon S. Ang.

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"Our aim is to help flatten the curve in our less fortunate barangays, especially in areas where there have been outbreaks. Our less-fortunate countrymen are really vulnerable, because their living conditions make it harder to observe social distancing and other preventive measures. So we want to focus our efforts to helping them," added the two-time PBA Executive of the Year.

The latest donation of SMC would help expand testing capacity, especially after the government decided to lift the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in most parts of the country and put NRC under a modified version of the ECQ on Tuesday.

At the same time, the company is moving ahead of its plans to put up its own testing laboratory to test its 70,000 employees and extended workforce to help government in its efforts to test aggressively and gradually reopen the economy.

"Apart from donating more test kits, we are increasing donation of high-capacity testing machines to help significantly increase the number of tests that can be processed daily to contain the spread of the virus," said Ang.

"Testing booths are just one component of the entire infrastructure for an efficient widespread testing, We need to produce more test kits, and make testing affordable, if not free, to the hardest-hit communities. We also need enough equipment to be able to process all these tests. We have to mobilize all these components to be able to test at scale." (RG)

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