The city government of Ormoc in Leyte has entered into a memorandum of agreement with Energy Development Corporation (EDC) and nonstock, nonprofit OSPA-Farmers Medical Center (FMC) for the creation of a molecular diagnostic center that will enable more timely reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing of COVID-19 swab samples from residents in the city and from nearby provinces.

EDC donated RT-PCR equipment worth about P25 million to Ormoc’s first COVID-19 testing facility that will be operated and maintained by OSPA-FMC.

The landmark agreement was signed by EDC management led by president and chief operating officer Richard Tantoco, Ormoc City mayor Richard Gomez, vice mayor Leo Carmelo Locsin Jr. and OSPA-FMC vice president Atty. Roy Bernard Fiel and witnessed by Sec. Vince Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases against COVID-19.

“We are very privileged to have an opportunity to address a clear gap for Ormoc City, the western part of Leyte, the province of Biliran and Southern Leyte, that of having an RT-PCR testing center,” said Tantoco.

“While Ormoc City leadership does its job, we too strive to do ours, which is to provide around 40% of the electricity of the entire Visayas that is so necessary now, particularly with remote work and the increased demands on our healthcare system,” Tantoco added.

According to Gomez, the laboratory will greatly expedite the processing of COVID-19 swab samples, which previously required up to 10 days.

“We can get our results in less than a day,” he said. “This is something we really need in this time of crisis.”

EDC owns and operates the 711-megawatt Leyte Geothermal Project that straddles Ormoc City and the municipality of Kananga.