THE Provincial Government of Davao del Norte donated P12 million to help set up the University of the Philippines Mindanao (UP-Mindanao) coronavirus disease (Covid-19) testing laboratory.

It is about 80 percent of the P15 million projected cost for the establishment of the biosafety molecular laboratory as part of the UP-Mindanao’s diagnostic program to give free testing for Covid-19 in the Davao Region.

In a virtual presser on Wednesday, April 29, Philippine Genome Center (PGC) director Dr. Lyre Anni Murao said the provincial government of Davao del Norte is among the entities that funded the testing laboratory.

She said the Davao Regional Medical Center, the testing laboratory’s partner hospital, also committed to shouldering the monthly operational cost.

An infrastructure and engineering company Maer Summit Konstrukt Co. owned by Dino Mae Suelto is said to have pledged a significant amount of resources for the establishment of the laboratory.

Murao bared they are currently finishing the engineering plan of the facility.

“We will submit that to DOH (Department of Health) for their approval para po pagdating ng construction, wala pong problema sa structure ng facility (so that we will not have a problem with the structure once it is constructed),” she said.

Training for the medical personnel coming from DRMC is also ongoing.

“We are still conducting training for our partners from DRMC so by the time that the lab is ready, then they are proficient enough to conduct these tests,” she said.

“The standard for Covid-19 testing is real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) [detection system]. It is a very technical procedure and you really need to develop medical personnel who have good skills for this kind of procedure,” she said.

She said they needed about 18 medical personnel and planned to implement two working shifts.

She added they are also welcoming volunteers to do administrative works for the laboratory.

The laboratory is expected to supplement the ongoing tests at the Southern Philippines Medical Center, which is currently the only medical facility in Mindanao recognized as a subnational reference laboratory that can test for Covid-19.