National Action Plan Against COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. led the inspection of the Philippine Arena mega swabbing center on Wednesday, May 20, which will be operational in the coming days.

Galvez was joined by Senator Manny Pacquiao, National Action Plan Against COVID-19 deputy chief implementer Secretary Vince Dizon, Iglesia Ni Cristo official and Maligaya Development Corporation Chief Operating Officer Atty. Glicerio “Ka GP” Santos IV, Office of Civil Defense Executive Director Usec. Ricardo Jalad, and Bureau of Fire Protection Deputy Chief for Operations General Jose Embang Jr.

“Philippine Arena is a model of how we set up the end-to-end infrastructure ng Test, Trace, and Treat strategy.”

“Ito pong swabbing center na may six tents at 96 testing booths ay napakalaking tulong sa ating gobyerno at sa ating mamamayan,” Galvez said.

According to Galvez, the Philippine Arena swabbing center can host 1,500 tests per day, and will be manned by the Bureau of Fire Protection medical team.

“Napakalaking bagay nito at ito na ang pinakamalaking tulong para maresolba ang problema na ito,” Senator Pacquiao remarked referring to the ongoing efforts of national government in expanding the testing capacity for COVID-19 cases.

“Wala tayong ibang kalasag kundi ang pakikiisa at pakikisama sa mga alintuntuning itinakda ng ating pamahalaan at ng ating mahal na Pangulong Duterte. I am confident that we will win this battle against COVID-19. Huwag po tayong mainip, mga kababayan. Huwag po tayong magmadali. Darating din tayo sa araw na muli tayong makakapamuhay na hindi nangangamba tungkol sa pandemya na ito,” the senator added.

The other mega swabbing centers are at the Palacio de Maynila along Roxas Boulevard, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, and at the Enderun Tent in Taguig City. The collected specimens in all four swabbing centers will be processed through the Philippine Red Cross laboratories which have helped in the testing of thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) under mandatory quarantine in Metro Manila.

“Itong Philippine Arena is a model of how we set up the end-to-end infrastructure ng Test, Trace, and Treat strategy. Nandito na po halos lahat ang kulang na lang dito ay molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) laboratory. Pero magse-set up na rin tayo dito ng modular laboratory in the coming weeks,” Dizon said. 

“Talagang hindi natin kayang pasalamatan nang paulit-ulit ang Iglesia Ni Cristo. Dito makikita natin ang efforts ng gobyerno para ma-contain ang COVID 19 lalong-lalo na habang dahan-dahan na tayong nag bubukas ng ating ekonomiya,” he added.

After all OFWs have been tested, the national government will implement a more aggressive expanded targeted testing in the communities, and different private companies.

The government officials expressed gratitude to the Iglesia Ni Cristo community and the private sector in putting up the needed health infrastructure and utility services in the Philippine Arena. This include the Century Properties Group, Ayala Corporation, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, and Stage Craft International.

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