EDC gives P4.2 M to restore Bicol’s Covid-19, water labs

By Rhaydz B. Barcia


THE Lopez-owned Energy Development Corporation (EDC) has given P4.2 million to rehabilitate the bacteriology and water analysis laboratories of the Department of Health (DOH) in the Bicol region as part of its contribution to curtail the spread of Covid-19.


EDC and DOH recently unveiled the P4.2 million expanded Covid-19 testing laboratory and refurbished enteric bacteriology and water analysis laboratory in a quest to improve the Covid-19 testing capacity in the region.


“With the number of Covid-19 cases increasing day by day, even reaching 8,000 plus cases on some days, it is indeed a high-time to unveil the laboratories and help the government, especially the DOH, to implement the necessary protocols to contain the spread of the virus in our region,” Eduardo Jimenez, EDC’s corporate social responsibility chief for its Bacon-Manito (BacMan) said.


The testing capacity of DOH Bicol’s molecular laboratory increased from 300-400 to 800-1000 tests daily because of the expansion, while the enteric bacteriology and water analysis laboratory was successfully relocated to a suitable location with refurbished facilities following the P4.2 million donation of EDC to DOH Bicol last September 2020.


“We are grateful to DOH-CHD Region V for identifying the specific needs of their office and immediately putting into reality the proceeds of the MOA signing ceremony last year,” Jimenez said.


In September 2020, Jimenez said that the EDC refocused its Covid-19 resiliency efforts from food and supply donations to an initiative that will enhance the mass testing capabilities of its host communities in Bicol.


The firm funded the expansion and refurbishment of the health center’s building and one of the only two Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM)-accredited Covid-19 testing laboratories in the Bicol region.


The partnership between EDC and DOH Bicol was made official through a virtual signing ceremony of the memorandum of agreement and deed of donation led by DOH Bicol regional director Dr. Ernie D. Vera.


From its former location at the Bicol Regional Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory Building, the water lab was moved to its designated area within the DOH Bicol regional office compound.


The enteric bacteriology and water analysis laboratory will also benefit the whole region for proper and wider examination of water-borne diseases, which is also a common health problem in the region, the EDC official said.Vera said that the restoration of RT-PCR molecular lab and water lab is vital as it is essential to address the Covid-19 pandemic and so as to bolster the public health services in the region considering the many health adversities.


“ It is our primary goal to guarantee equitable, accessible, and quality health services for all. With Covid-19 challenging this goal and overwhelming the health care system, it is evident that the department needs to maximize and exceed its efforts to address the pandemic,” Vera said.


“Our partnership with EDC has become an advantage to assist with this feat. May the partnership between DOH Bicol CHD and EDC bear more fruitful projects for the betterment of public health. With Covd-19 challenges and an overwhelming health care system, it is evident that the department needs to maximize and exceed its efforts to address the pandemic,” Vera added.


When the pandemic was declared in March last year and community lockdowns were imposed across the Bicol region, Jimenez said that the EDC immediately extended its help by distributing fuel, medical supplies, and rice assistance to its partner communities specifically in Albay and Sorsogon.


Aside from P4.2 million donation to DOH, the EDC also provided more than P3.22 worth of rapid testing kits, which were turned over to Sorsogon City, Legazpi City and Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital from Apr. 27 to Oct. 3, 2020. The EDC according to Jimenez also lent portavans for its quarantine facilities’ extension and isolation facility.


EDC, with its subsidiary BGI, operates the 140-MW Bacon-Manito geothermal facility that straddles between Manito, Albay and Bacon, Sorsogon and supplies clean and reliable power to the Luzon grid. Its 1,200 MW installed geothermal capacity accounts for over 62 percent of the country’s total geothermal capacity.