As the National and Local Elections 2022 are concluded, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), under the leadership of its Chairman and CEO Richard Gordon, reminded the public to get vaccinated and observe COVID-related symptoms.
To assist the government with its vaccination efforts, the PRC also deployed its 20 Bakuna Buses to different communities across the country. Each is designed with a spacious interior for vaccination, storage of supplies, and patients’ waiting area. The PRC also continues to offer one of the most affordable reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, including the cheaper and less invasive saliva-based test administered only by the organization’s 14 molecular laboratories.
“Muli kong hinihikayat ang ilan sa ating mga kababayan na hindi pa nababakunahan na magparehistro o mag-walk in lamang sa Red Cross upang kayo’y mabigyan ng vaccination schedule at maprotektahan laban sa kumakalat na virus. Nariyan pa rin ang ating abot-kayang RT-PCR test at mga Bakuna Buses na lumilibot sa iba’t ibang parte ng bansa upang magbigay serbisyo. Sama-sama tayo laban sa COVID-19,” Chairman Dick Gordon said.
Aside from offering these services, the PRC encourages the public, particularly the elderly and immunocompromised patients, to observe the minimum public health standards, which include immediate isolation if COVID-related symptoms are experienced. This is in response to the Department of Health’s latest National COVID-19 Case Bulletin last May 9, 2022, which reports over 1,000 COVID-19 new cases, 14 of which are severe and critical.
“Nariyan pa rin ang banta ng COVID-19 sa ating paligid, kaya nais nating paalalahanan ang publiko na sundin palagi ang itinakdang guidelines ng ating gobyerno. Red Cross is always ready to help, particularly in administering COVID-19 vaccine, RT-PCR test, and other humanitarian services.” Chairman Gordon added.
To date, the PRC has administered 1,169,428 vaccination doses and tested patients using either the swab or saliva method.
Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Covid-19 response started with the vision of PRC Chairman and CEO Sen. Dick Gordon, who saw testing as a way to “drain the swamp.”
The country had to rely heavily on the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and a handful of other laboratories that only test 300 samples per day.
Sen. Dick Gordon envisioned fighting the invisible enemy by testing as many people as quickly as possible, thereby identifying and isolating those who contacted COVID-19. From then on, PRC established its first molecular laboratory that could test 2,000 individuals per day.
PRC has 14 molecular laboratories, positioned in key-strategic areas nationwide, capable of testing more than 48,000 tests per day.
But Chairman Gordon did not stop in finding more ways to beat this invisible enemy. PRC continues to search for a more affordable, faster, and non-invasive method of testing. The research led PRC to introduce the country’s first and only saliva RT-PCR test, which only costs PHP 2,000. The saliva test also uses reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, which according to the World Health Organization, and is considered to be the gold standard for COVID-19 testing.
PRC, at that time, is offering the cheapest swab RT-PCR test priced at PHP 4,000, further lowering it to 3,800, lower than the PHP 4,500-PHP 5,000 price range set by the Department of Health and Department of Trade and Industry for RT-PCR testing for private laboratories.
To date, PRC lowers its testing fees for the second time, pricing it from PHP 3,800 to PHP 2,800 for swab RT-PCR and from PHP 2,000 – PHP 1,500 for saliva RT-PCR test, making RT-PCR tests affordable to the public.
More than testing, PRC also established different Isolation Facilities in UP, Ateneo, De La Salle College-Benilde, Makati Science Highschool, Adamson University, and Cagayan to cater to asymptomatic spreaders, and prevent household transmission.
Due to the rising cases of COVID-19 last April 2021, PRC Chairman Gordon was alarmed by the news of people dying outside the hospital, while waiting to be admitted. Without hesitation, Chairman Gordon immediately deployed a 100-bed capacity Emergency Field Hospital at the Lung Center of the Philippines to serve mild-moderate cases. This was followed by the deployment of Medical tents at the National Kidney Transplant Institute and assisted 30 more hospitals nationwide. To date, PRC medical tents have catered to more than 34,810 individuals since the start of the pandemic.
PRC also assisted communities through various cash distributions nationwide, deployment of Hot Meals on Wheels, and other activities of PRC to battle COVID-19.
PRC continues to be at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic through various initiatives by the humanitarian organization, together with our partner national societies, staff, and volunteers, through the leadership of Sen. Dick Gordon.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) opened its 14th PRC molecular laboratory in Cotabato City to further boost PRC testing capacity for COVID-19 on September 18, 2021.
The molecular laboratory is equipped with two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines and one ribonucleic acid (RNA) extractor, which can process up to 2,000 tests a day. The new molecular laboratory is in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and will serve Maguindanao, North Cotabato, South Cotabato and even Davao City.
PRC Chairman and CEO Sen. Dick Gordon, PRC Secretary General Elizabeth Zavalla, PRC Cotabato Chairwoman Bai Fatima P. Sinsuat, Mayor Frances Cynthia J. Guiani-Sayadi and other executives from the Red Cross and local government unit of Cotabato attended the virtual inauguration of the newly built molecular laboratory.
“I would like to thank the International Committee of the Red Cross for this partnership in defeating COVID-19. Sa ngayon ay 200 test per day lamang ang capacity ng Cotabato Regional and Medical Center at sa pamamagitan ng bagong Molecular Laboratory this will further hasten our COVID-19 response and can test up to 2,000 tests per day,” Sen. Dick Gordon said.
Chairman Gordon also emphasized the importance of regular testing to beat this invisible enemy. PRC recently lowered its RT-PCR testing fees for swab and saliva test from 3,800-2,800 and 2,000-1,500 respectively.
PRC also is ramping up vaccination efforts nationwide to get more people vaccinated as soon as possible through the Bakuna centers and PRC bakuna busses having inoculated over 217,808 individuals.