CLARK FREEPORT – The Clark Development Corporation (CDC) in collaboration with the Provincial Government of Pampanga and Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital (JBLMGH) launched the Clark “Swab and Go” COVID Facility in this Freeport.

The facility aims to provide a reasonable and convenient way for locators and employees to have their Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests. This project was also made possible through the initiative of Pampanga Vice Governor Lilia Pineda in coordination with the state-owned firm.

The “Swab and Go” site is located at the open space parking lot in front of the CDC – Health and Sanitation Division (HSD), and its main booth in the site was donated by the Department of Public Works and Highways. Free Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) connection was likewise be provided in the said area by PLDT-Clark.

In his speech during the event, CDC President and CEO Manuel R. Gaerlan shared the importance of having a testing facility here.

 “It is really important to have a testing facility here. This is for our workers and stakeholders and it is important that they can be tested so that the spread of the virus can be mitigated. I hope that we can quickly recover from this (pandemic) and it is for the best interest of not only our locators but also for the government and the economy,” he said.

The state-owned firm also regard the facility as a vital tool in addressing the increasing demand for testing as it also responds to sustain economic activity in the Freeport.

Meanwhile, the “Swab and Go” process will be operated by medical professionals from JBLMGH Molecular Pathology Laboratory.

JBLMGH – Molecular Laboratory is one of the three molecular laboratories in the Philippines that pioneered the conduct of pooled RT-PCR testing in the country. The other two labs are UP Molecular Laboratory System, Philippine Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City. Currently, there are only 12 institutions certified by the DOH to do the pooled RT-PCR testing.

Similar to a drive-thru testing site, the “Swab and Go” facility will help to fast-track the process of testing suspected and probable COVID-positive individuals.  The testing is done in a 4-step process: Registration – Verification – Payment – Swabbing.

Specimen from individuals who will undergo RT-PCR in the facility will then be transported to the laboratory of JBLMGH for further testing and confirmation. RT -PCR is a method being done to detect nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2, a viral species that causes COVID-19. In this test, samples are being collected from individuals through nasal and oral swabbing.

The cost of the testing in the facility will be at P900 per person if conducted under a pool RT-PCR testing approach with a minimum of five persons in a group. This is a cheaper way to have the RT – PCR test compared to those other facilities available in the market. Qualified individuals who may avail of the pooled RT-PCR testing are determined based on certain categories and on the Department of Health reference list.

Clark workers fall under the economic workers’ category and are qualified to avail the said test in the facility. Meanwhile, for those who are not qualified for pool testing, a regular rate will be charged with an applicable discount for Senior Citizens, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), and Government Employees.

Accordingly, the state-owned firm collaborated with Clark Investors and Locators Association (CILA) to provide this service to stakeholders in the Freeport. CILA is also set to sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with JBLMGH, similar to the signed partnership of CDC and JBLMGH.

CDC executives including CDC Chairman Atty. Edgardo Pamintuan, CDC Vice President for Administration and Finance Engr. Mariza Mandocdoc, CDC Vice President for Engineering Services Gen. Ralph Mamauag (Ret.), CDC Assistant Vice President for Administration Zoraida Camello, and CDC – HSD Manager Dr. Clemencita Dobles are also present to convey support on the launching of the facility. Also in attendance at the event are Pampanga Board Member Fritzie Dizon, Board Member Cherry Manalo, Mabalacat City Mayor Crisostomo Garbo, JBLMGH Medical Center Chief Dr. Monserrat Chichioco, CILA Chairman Irineo Alvaro, Jr. and Angeles City Mayor Carmelo Lazatin’s representative Exec Asst. V Raffy L. Angeles. With the recent surge of COVID cases in the region and in adherence to the resolutions provided by the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID), CDC has also issued stringent guidelines on the implementation of standard health protocols inside the Freeport. More information about the said guidelines are available at the CDC official Facebook page – @Clark Development Corporation.