Press Release
June 20, 2020


With 17.7 percent unemployment rate recorded in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic - the highest ever, surpassing the 10.3% unemployment rate in the 1998 recession in the Philippines, Senator Richard J. Gordon, chairman and CEO of the Philippine Red Cross on Friday pointed out that ramping up testing for COVID-19 would enable Filipinos to get back to their jobs faster

Gordon issued the statement after inspecting the newly-opened molecular laboratory in the PRC Logistics and Training Center in Subic, one of two laboratories that the PRC inaugurated outside of Metro Manila on Friday.

"I emphasize this - the logic behind the testing is that we can separate the people who are sick from the people who are not sick so they won't contaminate. But the more important reason is - if we are able to do that, we can get our jobs back faster. Bagsak na ang ekonomiya natin, kailangan ma-test natin sila agad para makapagtrabaho na sila ulit," he said.

The PRC chairman cited as example the factories in Subic, which is one of the country's investment hubs, once their employees are tested, they can open shop again.

"When people are tested and we know where they are, for example here in Subic, they can start working here already for the factories that had their employees tested. If there's somebody who tests positive, we can test again after and when they're already cured they can work again," he said.

Gordon stressed that without testing, it would be hard to get people back to work again and stop them from relying on government dole outs.

"But without that, it's going to be hard getting people back to getting an income of their own. We do not want a system where people rely on government, without jobs people will keep getting money from the government. That is the worst thing that we can do to our country and it's been happening for some time. Now we're going to get out of it," he said.

The product of collaboration between the foremost humanitarian organization in the country and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Administration led by Chairman and Administrator Amy Eisma, the PRC's newly-opened molecular laboratory in Subic is equipped with two real-time polymerase reaction chain (RT-PCR) machines that are capable of running a combined total of up to 2,000 tests per day. The swabbing center is located near the Main Gate.

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