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P18M EDC funds allocated for swab tests

Residents of Negros Oriental will no longer have to worry about paying expensive fees to avail of the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test for Covid-19.

This benefit comes from the decision of the provincial government to allocate the P18 million worth of total remittances that it has received from the Department of Energy, from the Lopez-led renewable energy leader Energy Development Corporation, and from its power subsidiary Green Core Geothermal, Inc., as part of its Energy Regulations No. 1-94 funds, a press release from EDC said.

It added that EDC and GCGI transferred about P9.6 million worth of ER1-94 funds to the provincial government of Negros Oriental, that can be utilized to respond to the Covid crisis.

The DOE has also downloaded over P21 million to the province in 2020 from its EDC and GCGI share of one centavo per kilowatt-hour, under Republic Act 9136, or the Electric Power Industry Reforms Act of 2001, and RA 9513 or Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

HOSPITAL LAB ASSISTED

Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo has already approved the purchase of consumables for the Negros Oriental Province Hospital Molecular Laboratory.

“We are continuously grateful to EDC for the help and support they have provided us when we were putting up the laboratory last year, and even after the laboratory is fully functional. They continuously extend help through the provision of consumables in order that the laboratory can continue testing for Covid-19, given that we are currently the only lab catering to Negros Oriental for now,” Dr. Nikko Paolo Cablao, a pathologist and head of the NOPH Molecular Laboratory, said.

“Without EDC’s help, we might still be sending our samples to Cebu and that takes around 4-7 days for results to come back,” Cablao added.

 Cablao said that residents, who will be tested as part of contact tracing, symptomatic patients, and those who will be confined in hospitals will be able to avail of free swab tests, that normally cost P3,200 each.

EDC also turned over P5.6 million worth of additional support to Negros Oriental in the form of RT-PCR detection and extraction test kits and other consumables, also for the NOPH Molecular Laboratory.

“We are glad to, not only provide this ER1-94 benefit to the province of Negros Oriental, that has been one of EDC’s foremost partners in progress for almost 40 years, but also to be able to directly transmit the funds at a difficult time like this when it is needed the most, considering the health and economic crisis that we have all been trying to conquer since last year,” Norreen Bautista, head of EDC’s Corporate Social Responsibility team in Negros, said.*

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