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First molecular laboratory in Region 8 opens in Maasin City, Southern Leyte as Bong Go vows to help boost country’s health care system further

PASAY CITY -- On Monday, January 24, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go commended the local government of Southern Leyte for the successful inauguration of the Salvacion Oppus Yñiguez Memorial Provincial Hospital Molecular Laboratory in Maasin City. SOYMPH is the first provincial hospital to establish a molecular laboratory in the Eastern Visayas region.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Go expressed his confidence that the opening of the said facility will significantly boost pandemic efforts as it shall help speed up COVID-19 testing in the community.

“I am truly glad to join you today to witness the inauguration and blessing of the new molecular laboratory here at Salvacion Oppus Yñiguez Memorial Provincial Hospital,” Go conveyed in his video message.

“The Molecular Laboratory will surely help in decongesting the current state of our testing centers and laboratories in the entire Region 8 and will serve as a form of force multiplier as we continue to fight the COVID-19 virus,” he cited.

The facility will be responsible for the performance of hundreds of molecular diagnostic tests a day that shall detect an active infection with COVID-19 through a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. Usually taken by swabbing the patient’s nose or throat, the RT-PCR test is considered to be the most accurate method in diagnosing COVID-19 virus among the infected individuals.

Apart from processing COVID-19 tests, the molecular laboratory also has the capability of conducting other medical tests, such as for tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and dengue.

Meanwhile, the senator acknowledged the challenges faced by the health care workers of the community and vowed to support more government initiatives that would benefit medical frontliners, especially during public health emergencies.

“I would like to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude towards our dearest frontliners,” Go expressed.

“Two years have gone by since the pandemic began, and as we face another year, let me thank you for taking care of our people throughout this difficult time. The entire nation is truly grateful for your hard work and service,” he added.

Considering the burden of the health care workers during this pandemic, Go authored and co-sponsored Senate Bill No. 2421 which will provide health workers with a fixed monthly COVID-19 Risk Allowance for the duration of the current State of Emergency in lieu of the special risk allowance and other financial compensation granted under the Bayanihan 2 Law.

Those eligible for the benefits will now include all healthcare workers and other necessary personnel assigned in health facilities.

Meanwhile, Go also pushed for a total of PhP 51 billion in the 2022 budget to benefit more COVID-19 HCWs. He however reiterated that health officials and government finance managers should continue working together to make sure funding sources can be made available.

Ending his message, Go then vowed that together with President Rodrigo Duterte, they will continue to provide for the betterment of the nation’s health care system saying, “Nananatiling buo po ang suporta namin ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa inyo at sa lahat ng ating mga frontliners at mga healthcare workers. Ipagpatuloy lang po ninyo ang inyong serbisyo para sa ating bayan.”

In line with his advocacy to improve the quality of the country’s health care services, Senator Go filed two bills that aim to boost the country’s response to the threat of infectious disease.

One of these measures is Senate Bill No. 2158 which shall establish the Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — the lead agency for developing communicable disease control and prevention initiatives. It will also focus on controlling the spread of infectious diseases in the Philippines.

He also filed SBN 2155 which seeks to create the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP). The facility shall be the principal laboratory for virology research and laboratory investigations as well as the lead technical coordinator of the nationwide network of virology laboratories.

If passed, the VIP will boost and ensure access to new vaccines against diseases such as COVID-19 to make certain that the country has sufficient supplies of emergency vaccine doses. (OSBG)

About the Author

Kate Shiene Austria


Central Office

Information Officer III under the Office of the Deputy Director-General-Digital Development Communications Unit of Philippine Information Agency. 

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