By Bombo Ponciano ‘John’ Melo Jr -May 1, 2020 | 6:02 PM

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) started testing overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who just arrived in the country for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) at its newly-inaugurated molecular laboratory inside PRC’s Logistics Center in Mandaluyong City.

On Thursday night, around 120 seafarers who returned on April 29 arrived at the testing center to undergo swabbing.

They were accompanied by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

“Our aim is to really get our people tested so that we can immediately isolate those who are affected and prevent the non-carriers from acquiring the virus. We want to make sure that our OFWs are safe before they go home to their families. Last week, we inaugurated our molecular laboratory and we are planning to put up 20 more throughout the country so that we could test more,” said Senator Richard J. Gordon, chairman and chief executive officer of PRC.

The PRC and PCG will also start testing returning OFWs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminals I and II, and at Eva Macapagal Terminal.

On April 30, Gordon met with Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President Vince Dizon and the PCG Task Force Laban Coronavirus medical team headed by Captain Eric Steven Guieb to discuss the measures and proper protocol to be followed during the rapid testing at the airports.

The swabbing will be conducted by nurses and medical technologists of the armed forces under the supervision of PRC staff to ensure that the procedures are followed correctly.

“Red Cross saved our fight against COVID because of the testing capacity. Umaabot ng isang libo mahigit ang dumarating na OFWs everyday. We want to test them and we want to work with Chairman Gordon para mabilis iyong resulta kase kapag na-test natin sila at nalaman natin na negative, puwede na natin silang ipa-home quarantine,” Dizon said.

Guieb, on the other hand, thanked the PRC for helping them ensure the safety of the OFWs and their families.

“It’s amazing that Senator Gordon was able to think of this. Malaking tulong ang mga PCRs especially sa OFWs to ensure that when they go home to their families, they are clean of the COVID,” he said.

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