BDO Foundation continues to collaborate with the public sector, the medical community and non-governmental organizations to help the country cope with COVID-19. As part of concerted efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the corporate social responsibility arm of BDO Unibank partnered with Go Negosyo, the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), the Philippine Society of Pathologists (PSP) and the local government of Mandaluyong to sponsor pooled testing in the city.
The initiative was launched recently in an online event witnessed by BDO Unibank and BDO Foundation chairperson Teresita Sy-Coson and BDO Unibank president and CEO Nestor V. Tan. According to Tan, who also serves as BDO Foundation trustee, “BDO Foundation remains committed to its advocacies despite the pandemic, and one of its advocacies is in healthcare.”
“We are a big supporter of pooled testing as it will lower the costs and improve the timing of information, which will help greatly in our fight against this pandemic. This is how we can help our frontliners and our critical support staff that is necessary in the servicing of the economy. I hope that in our small way, BDO Foundation and BDO Unibank can help in our fight against this common difficulty,” he added.
Also present at the virtual event were BDO Foundation president Mario Deriquito and BDO Foundation trustees Evelyn Salagubang, Lazaro Jerome Guevarra and Ma. Corazon Mallillin. They were joined by Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion, PCMC COVID-19 laboratory head Dr. Raymundo Lo, PSP president Dr. Roberto Padua Jr., Iloilo 1st district representative and pooled testing consultant Dr. Janette Garin, and Mandaluyong City mayor Menchie Abalos, who lauded the initiative as “a worthy undertaking”.
The mayor said local government officials will prioritize the testing of the city’s medical frontliners, jeepney drivers, tricycle drivers and market vendors.
Pooled testing combines swab samples from groups of five, 10 or 20 individuals and examines them together using a single reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test kit. Considered a game changer in efforts to contain the coronavirus, the method is highly touted by the medical community as a very effective and aggressive approach. The testing strategy is expected to boost capacities, expedite procedures and significantly reduce the cost of COVID-19 mass testing.
Pooled RT-PCR testing in Mandaluyong City is the latest corporate citizenship initiative of BDO Foundation in response to COVID-19. The first corporate foundation to support pooled testing in the country, it also funded the pilot implementation of the method in Makati City and Cebu City. In recent weeks, BDO Foundation donated RT-PCR test kits to 10 hospitals across the country for frontliners and economically disadvantaged patients. It also provided food assistance to 8,000 underserved families in cities with high incidence of COVID-19.