[Editor’s Note: Project ARK (Antibody Rapid Test Kits) is a project by PLDT Enterprise and GoNegosyo. It aims to help LGUs by providing rapid test kits to MSMEs. To date, more than 30,000 individuals have been tested. Below is their press release.]
In an effort to help the nation combat COVID-19, PLDT Enterprise partners with GoNegosyo for its Project ARK to enable rapid testing for the local government units of Makati, Las Piñas, and Taguig.
Project ARK (Antibody Rapid Test Kits) is a private sector-led initiative which aims to generate rapid test kits to help pinpoint and contain the spread of the virus and help Filipinos get their lives back and help local businesses rise up once again.
GoNegosyo joined hands with PLDT Enterprise to help local government units (LGUs) improve their testing and tracing abilities. Not only does the partnership add more usable testing kits to the arsenal of LGUs, it will also give them better technology to help them determine the virus’s path so they can more effectively stop its growth.
“During this time, it is indeed essential that members of the public and private sectors come together to uplift the nation – performing collective acts of bayanihan by sharing our resources and capabilities. As such, we would like to express our admiration for the GoNegosyo team for spearheading such endeavor,” said Jovy Hernandez, ePLDT President & CEO and SVP & Head for PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups.
“Within the PLDT Group, we like to say that we are in the business of nation-building, which is why we are we are extremely keen on endeavors that allow us to serve society at large,” Hernandez added.
The results of the initiative have so far been promising. PLDT Enterprise helped donate 150,000 test kits for Makati – one of the first test areas for Project ARK – and about 38,000 to 39,000 individuals have already been tested, with 96% of the sampling population being negative for the virus.
According to Mayor Abby Binay, “We look forward to another phase of this collaboration which is the pooled testing. We are very excited with the possible results of the research, which is in partnership with Project Ark, DZMC, RITM, and Perpetual Health. As the central business district, we have to keep the economy alive.”
Businesses have already started reopening in Makati, with limited services and personnel, which she finds encouraging. “I’m very optimistic about the pooled testing, and I want it done in Makati. There are a lot of companies that have yet to test using the PCR. This will encourage businesses and even condominiums to have all the residents in their area tested,” Binay added.
Project ARK has also signed agreements with the Philippine Society of Pathologists and the PCMC (Philippine Children’s Medical Center) to conduct research on testing. Moreover, 350 companies have already started to test their employees and developed their own strategies on how to approach this pandemic.
GoNegosyo Founder Joey Concepcion recognizes that the economy cannot prosper and move forward if the health situation is not contained. “If we don’t contain this, there will be more quarantine in many areas, which will restrict the movement of goods, supplies, and production,” he said. “We have to be really vigilant because now, it is not only the lives of people that are affected by this virus; it’s also the lives of people who will lose their jobs and their livelihoods. And we have seen it everywhere that the livelihood of many of our MSMEs are greatly affected.”
For more information, please visit pldtenterprise.com. – Rappler.com