Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion confirms the launch of Project ARK (Antibody Rapid test Kits) in Antipolo City, Rizal, with the support of Mayor Andrea Ynares.
Also present at the virtual presser were Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) President Henry Lim Bon Liong, City Health Officer Dr. Concepcion Lat, ARK Project Lead Josephine Romero, Medical Team Leader Dr. Minguita Padilla, Project ARK Pilot Lead for LGU Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar, and George Royeca of Angkas.
Project ARK’s massive rapid testing initiative in Antipolo, held May 8 to 12, successfully conducted 1,486 tests out of the target 1,700 sampling size, utilizing antibody rapid test kits donated by FFCCCII.
From those tested, 0.5% were deemed presumptive positive for COVID-19. This number is significantly low and supports the city’s move towards General Community Quarantine (GCQ). Those who were identified as positive were immediately directed to the appropriate hospital facilities for treatment.
Mayor Ynares also expressed her gratitude for Project ARK: “Starting May 15, we will be under GCQ. Dahil sa ginawa po ng siyudad ng Antipolo, mas kampante po kami para sa GCQ dahil natest na po ang iba sa aming mga kasamahan. Kulang po ang mga salita para pasalamatan kayong lahat.”
Concepcion emphasizes that in order for the economy to safely reopen and restart, mass testing must be done. “We are in a war with an invisible enemy. Gaining visibility is key to successfully overcoming this pandemic. Our goal at Projet ARK is to bring testing to everybody.
“Just recently, President Duterte approved the move for some regions to shift from ECQ to Modified ECQ (MECQ), which is an improvement and it takes us one step closer to GCQ. To completely lift the lockdowns, however, we have to test, test, test! Massive testing, tracing and isolation of affected individuals is key to reopening the economy. With this, we can reinstate public confidence.”
“I hope that more businesses will be allowed to operate under the MECQ. Congress has already proposed a very generous stimulus package, but we must go back to the ‘real normal’ of helping our people by bringing back jobs and livelihoods.The task of balancing buhay and kabuhayan is very challenging. Though we cannot achieve that perfect balance, we must strive to save as many lives and livelihoods as possible,” he adds.
Project ARK – an initiative led by Concepcion that bands together the biggest economic players and business conglomerates in the country – aims to ramp up mass testing in the country. With the data collected from these efforts, the government and different industries can gain a better visibility of the enemy and develop better strategies to combat the virus.
Barangay implementation is part of Project ARK’s bayanihan initiative. In addition to encouraging the screening of employees to ensure safety at work, Project ARK supports companies to lead the voluntary testing of barangay citizens.
As of date, the project has generated 1,021,293 rapid test kits from 186 companies. Of these test kits, 880,693 will be used by partner companies, while 140,600 will go to barangay donations. Project ARK is working with LGUs such as Pasig, Taguig, Quezon City, and Makati to bring mass testing down to the community level.