Asian Development Bank donates RT-PCR machines to boost Philippine military's capacity

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2020 12:57 PM

Members of the military's Joint Task Force at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on March 14, 2020 as they prepare to enforce the community lockdown meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The lockdown begins at 12am on March 15. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The Asian Development Bank said Friday it donated 2 real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing machines to the Armed Forces of the Philippines to boost its capacity. 

The set of equipment, which will be installed at the Philippine Army Molecular Laboratory in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig, can test nearly 100 people per hour, the ADB said in a statement. 

The laboratory supports testing of AFP personnel in Metro Manila, it said.

“ADB supports the Philippine government’s strategy to prevent and control COVID-19 by expanding testing, particularly in hardest-hit Metro Manila and surrounding provinces,” ADB Director General for Southeast Asia Ramesh Subramaniam said. 

“We have seen military personnel in action on the frontline from the beginning of the pandemic and we hope the new testing machines will help ensure the safety of AFP’s essential workers," he added.

The Health Department earlier said that the use of RT-PCR machines is the "gold standard" in COVID-19 tests. Rapid tests and antigen testing have also been used for the disease.

Funds used to procure the machines, priced at $35,000 each (P1.6 million), is part of ADB's $5 million (P242 million) Rapid Emergency Supplies Provision Assistance to the Philippines, approved in March 2020, the lender said.

The ADB said the military has played a key role in implementing anti-pandemic measures in the country. The government is seeking to raise its daily COVID-19 testing capacity to about 50,000 by the end of the year, it said.

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