Bangsamoro region now has COVID-19 testing hub

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) now has a COVID-19 testing center after the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC) completed all the requirements to become a licensed hospital-based testing sub-national laboratory.

The CRMC announced this on Wednesday, May 20. 

The CRMC will be using Gene Xpert machine which can generate results in 45 minutes – way faster than the real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) kits being used by accredited testing hubs, which have a turnaround time of 24 hours.

"The current capacity for testing is maximum of 72 specimens per day. Presently, we have 1,134 test kits," CRMC said. 

BARMM entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Cotabato City hospital to develop its laboratory into a coronavirus testing facility.

The autonomous region turned over P14.1 million to fund the purchase of testing equipment.

The CRMC, although located in Cotabato City, is under the jurisdiction of the regoinal office of the Department of Health. 

The government is eyeing to have 66 accredited COVID-19 testing centers by May 31, according to Bases and Conversion Development Authority president and CEO Vince Dizon, who is also the deputy chief implementer of the government COVID-19 response. –


Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.