SENATOR Manny Pacquiao has formally turned over Friday the 57,000 COVID-19 testing kits which were donated to the Philippines by his billionaire friend, Alibaba founder Jack Ma.
Pacquiao said the P400 million worth of testing kits which were donated by Ma to the Philippine government through the Manny Pacquiao Foundation will definitely go a long way in the fight against the dreaded COVID-19 virus.
The testing kits were formally turned over at the Department of Health main office in Sta. Cruz, Manila by Pacquaio's special assistant Jake Joson, Manny Pacquiao Foundation head Choi Garcia, business manager Arnold Vegafria and legal counsel Atty. Brando Viernesto to several health officials led by San Lazaro Hospital infectious disease head scientist Dr. Rongene Solante and representatives of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
The boxing icon-turned-Senator said that increasing the government's capacity to administer COVID-19 test is a surefire formula to contain the spread of the virus which has brought the whole of humanity into a state of utter despair and helplessness.
The 57,000 pieces of Detection Kit for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) RNA (PCR-Fluorescence Probing) will be used "for the in vitro qualitative detection of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) ORFlab and N gene in the throat swabs, sputum specimens of suspected pneumonia patients infected by novel coronavirus, suspected clustering cases and others needing diagnosis or differential diagnosis for novel coronavirus."
These are the same kits that were issued and used by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC).
Aside from the testing kits, Pacquiao said he also received from Ma a total of 500,000 face masks which would also be turned over to President Duterte for proper distribution. This is on top of the 700,00 face masks that he had already donated to various agencies through the help of several friends in the business community.
"Kelangan talagang kumilos tayo para makatulong tayo sa bansa at sa ating mga mamamayan, lalong-lalo na sa ating mga mahihirap. Batid ko kung paano ang maging mahirap kaya gumagawa tayo ng paraan para makatulong sa kanila. I will be asking DoH to prioritize the poor in administering these test kits," Pacquiao said.
"Mabuti na lang at may mga kaibigan tayong kagaya ni Jack Ma na nakahanda laging magbigay sa atin ng ayuda. The president cannot do this alone. We all have to do our part to win the war against this virus," Pacquaio said.
For good measure, Pacquiao said he has ordered the testing kits and the masks to go through disinfection procedures so as not to endanger the lives of the frontliners who would be using them.