MOA. Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez (center), together with Vice Mayor Leo Carmelo Locsin, entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Energy Development Corporation(EDC) which donated the RT-PCR machine placed at the OSPA-FMC, as represented by its vice president lawyer Roy Bernard Fiel (right). Also signing the agreement via Zoom was Allan Barcena, EDC’s head of its corporate social responsibility public relations.The signing was held on Friday,July 3. (MA. RUBY ESPINA)

ORMOC CITY – Lopez-led renewable energy company Energy Development Corporation ( EDC) is taking a huge step to help Ormoc City put up its own Covid- testing facility by donating a P25 million worth of equipment, including a state-of-the-art Real Time Reverse Trasncriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction(RT-PCR) machine.
On Friday (July 3), City Mayor Richard Gomez and Vice Mayor Leo Carmelo Locsin, together with EDC president and chief operating officer Richard B. Tantoco and Ormoc Sugarcane Planters Association Incorporated-Farmers’ Medical Center OSPA –FMC vice president lawyer Roy Bernard Fiel, signed a memorandum of agreement through online formalizing the first Ormoc Molecular Diagnostic Center.
The facility aims to do mass testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and gather all the necessary information to find ways to flatten the curve and manage the pandemic in the area.
“Today marks another milestone as we hold our ceremonial MOA signing via Zoom for the first time,” said lawyer Allan Barcena, head of EDC’s Corporate Social Responsibility-Public Relations team that spearheaded the fulfillment of the company’s commitment to this project.
“While we see this virtual event as part of the new normal, it is a proof that EDC’s almost 40-year strong partnership with Ormoc City cannot be hindered even by this COVID-19 crisis that we and the rest of the world are in right now,” he stressed.
EDC’s donation is a critical component of the project considering that the RT-PCR is the standard testing method used to detect SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19.
Under the agreement, the city government of Ormoc shall provide the necessary supervision, technical support, and the needed fixtures, furniture and facilities for the Molecular Testing Laboratory, as well as execute all pertinent documents as part of its responsibilities to the project.
Meanwhile, OSPA-FMC shall operate and manage the facility and provide the appropriate staff who are proficient in molecular diagnostic techniques, as provided by the guidelines issued by the Department of Health.
It will ensure that the laboratory shall only use Food and Drug Authority (FDA) registered testing kits, reagents and devices, and that RT-PCR machine and all other equipment in laboratory are properly maintained.
All three parties are working double-time to make the facility operational soon for the benefit not only of the Ormocanons but also of residents from the western part of Leyte and also those from the provinces of Biliran and Southern Leyte.
Ormoc, along with Kananga, Leyte, has been home to EDC’s 711-megawatt (MW) geothermal facility, the world’s largest wet steam field.
EDC’s Leyte geothermal facility has been supplying more than 30% of the country’s installed geothermal capacity for almost 40 years. It is also responsible for putting EDC and the Philippines on the map as the world’s 3rd largest geothermal producer.
City Vice Mayor Locsin narrated how in one evening in May 2020 that they planned to have their own COVID-19 testing center to help contain the spread of the virus.
“The manpower is already strained. And the task that time was how to buy the machine and how much would it could the city, including the accreditation process,” he said, adding the partnership only aimed for a safer and healthier Ormoc.
But with EDC’s donation of this top-of-the line equipment and OSPA-FMC’s offer to operate the machine, the plan is near to completion.
In his acceptance message, Mayor Gomez expressed his elation with the partnership his administration has forged with the private sector like the EDC.
“Very seldom we see corporations, people and the community, the local government unit, professionals and the national government working together in harmony. Fantastic and very needed, will bring good news to the beautiful people of Ormoc,” the city mayor said.
The mayor assured that the city will take good care of the equipment since the facility will be beneficial not just for the people of Ormoc but for the whole province and the region as well.
EDC president Tantoco, in his message via Zoom, explained that the company will be doing projects like this because the Lopez group is true to the credo that they are reciting numerous times in a year – and that is helping the community grow.
In jest, Tantoco added that at first he doesn’t have the idea that the machine cost millions but for the resiliency and safety of the Ormocanons, EDC will be funding 100% of the project.
The MOA states that there will be reasonable fees to be collected from the requesting party (who will undergo testing) to cover maintenance and operating cost. (MA. RUBY ESPINA)