This Filipino Company Is Building a Dedicated Testing Lab for Their Employees

They're looking to test before their workforce returns.

( Given that it is up to private sector to conduct mass testing, it is in the hands of the companies to prepare their employees' return to the workplace. To prepare for the gradual return of their employees, conglomerate San Miguel Corporation has started testing in phases using the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test (a.k.a. the RT-PCR kind), considered the "gold standard" by the Department of Health. The company is also currently building a dedicated in-house testing lab for their employees. 

"Currently, we are working with partner laboratories to process the tests, but once our lab is up, we expect to be able to process more tests quickly so we don’t burden the system and we can take care of our employees," said Ramon Ang, president of the San Miguel Corporation (SMC), in a statement. The dedicated laboratory is 60% complete.

An employee is swabbed at a makeshift clinic in the SMC headquarters.
PHOTO Courtesy of SMC

Around 20% of the employees at SMC's head office will report to work, while the rest will continue to work from home. "We are prioritizing, first, our security and other maintenance staff, as they are the ones who take care of our workplace. After them, we test our colleagues whose duties require them to report to the office," noted Ang. 

PHOTO Courtesy of SMC
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Aside from the Metro Manila headquarters, essential employees in facilities across the nation will undergo testing as well. "We will also test close to 8,000 manufacturing and operations and management front line staff. We are also lining up testing at our Visayas facilities simultaneously," he added. Testing in their Davao facilities is lined up for late May or early June. 

"Being able to test to identify who has the virus quickly, isolate them from the rest of the employee population and to monitor the workforce for indicative symptoms will allow us to emerge from this crisis strong," said Ang. 

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