WITH the decision of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and the SM Prime Holdings-owned SM Supermalls to work in unison in the fight against COVID-19, they have apparently bowed to popular demand.
It is public knowledge that Filipinos, particularly the poor across the country, want easier access to cheaper, faster and non-invasive tests for the dreaded and deadly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In partnering with SM Supermalls, a chain of shopping malls in the Philippines, PRC Chair Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon underscored the importance of speeding up the COVID-19 testing of the people.
Under the memorandum of agreement, PRC opened, starting last Tuesday, two saliva collection sites at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City and SM Mall of Asia (MOA) in Pasay City.
The PRC’s COVID-19 saliva test has been approved by the Department of Health (DOH) after undergoing thorough study and research by the University of Illinois and University of the Philippines (UP).
A ceremonial signing of the accord, held the same day, was attended by Gordon, PRC Secretary General Elizabeth Zavalla, SM Supermalls President Steven T. Tan and Senior Vice President Bien Mateo.
People who wish to avail themselves of the PRC-SM Supermall service must first set an appointment through “book.redcross1158.com.”
The two shopping malls will only serve as specimen collecting sites for the Saliva RT-PCR test. The samples will be forwarded to PRC laboratories for testing, according to the Red Cross.
After the specimen collection at the SM-Megamall and SM-MOA, they can expect to receive the test results, through email, in three hours, said the PRC top honcho in a statement.
The signing of the PRC-SM Supermalls agreement is ample proof that even the private sector is more than willing to help the government in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.