In an April 13 meeting held at the Malacanañg Palace, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion highlighted key steps for reviving the Philippine economy in a safe, secure, and sustainable manner. One of these is the private sector-led initiative of massive rapid testing in Metro Manila and other provinces.
This initiative includes the massive screening of employees, at the company’s own expense, as well as testing of the residents of nearby barangays where they operate. The screening of residents will be done on a voluntary basis.
“What is more important: Life or money?” said Concepcion during the meeting. “There is no doubt that life is more important. However, without money, how will people eat? How will people buy medicines? How will MSMEs recover? How do we bring back the economy in a sustainable way and still make it safe?”
President Rodrigo Duterte recently approved the immediate procurement of much needed test kits from trusted suppliers. These are the antibody tests and the rt-PCR kits which will be used by the government for public use.
The antibody tests will be used to detect the presence of IgG and IgM antibodies, which can help identify those who have built an immunity to the virus after recovering from it. The presence of the IgM immunoglobulin is indicative of active disease, while the presence of the IgG immunoglobulin is indicative of recovery and immunity.
For the initial order, two million IgM IgG antibody kits will be purchased at a cost that has yet to be determined. A budget of P3.2 billion will be used for 40,000 rt-PCR kits, good for 900,000 confirmatory tests.
Another recommendation put forth by Joey Concepcion was for the government to set up a system for returning overseas Filipino workers and balikbayans (or Filipinos visiting or returning to the Philippines after a period of living in another country). They are recommended to undergo proper testing and screening upon arrival.
As of today, the conglomerates, businesses, and major business organizations that have attended the meetings convened by the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship have confirmed to take part in this initiative.