Bacolod now has two bio-safe Swab Mobiles – both made in the city and donated by business organizations.
The second one was turned over by BioPower Group and its project sponsor ThomasLloyd Group to Mayor Evelio Leonardia at rites at the Bacolod City Government Center yesterday, 19 May.
The first one – also the first bio-safe Swab Mobile in the country – was turned over to the city by the Bacolod Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BFCCI) last 7 May.
ThomasLloyd is a European investment firm that is a shareholder of the BioPower Group, which is led by its president Arthur Aguilar.
Last year, the BioPower Group completed three biomass power plants fueled by sugarcane field residues in Negros island with a combined capacity of 70 megawatts and total investments of P16 billion. These are the San Carlos BioPower, South Negros BioPower in La Carlota City, and North Negros BioPower in Manapla town.
Dave Mamuyac, senior manager of BioPower Group, said, “This is our humble contribution to Bacolod, in our effort to combat COVID-19.”
He underscored the importance of swab mobile: “Instead of having the people crowd the clinic or the hospital to get tested, we bring the facility to them, that way, we’re preventing the spread of the virus, and at the same time, our front-liners and medical staff are being protected all the while.”
Leonardia thanked BioPower for sharing their blessings to Bacolod. He also highlighted the team work of city officials in the fight against the virus. “This is all because of team play. I would like to say, here in Bacolod City, particularly in our government, I work together with our city officials. Probably that is one factor, at the very least, that we are at a level so far that our problems are still manageable up to this point in time.”
For her part, project initiator and mayor’s daughter Loren Kara Leonardia shared that at first, she was just trying to do one unit of swab mobile, and then BioPower Group offered to donate the second one.
“This is in line with what we’re hoping to have, which is a bio-lab, and we’re trying our best to move forward by getting testing done better,” she said, as she thanked the donors of the swab mobiles.
Joining the blessing and turnover rites for the second swab mobile were Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Councilors Cindy Rojas, Renecito Novero, Archie Baribar, Israel Salanga, Bartolome Orola, and Ana Marie Palermo.
Also joining them were First Lady Elsa Leonardia, City Administrator Em Ang, City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan, City Health Officer Ma. Carmela Gensoli, special consultant Atty. John Orola, and Mark Steven Mayo who represented Rep. Greg Gasataya.
Also present were businessmen Willy Au and James Chua, who were among the donors of the first swab mobile.
Mamuyac was also accompanied by 10 other executives of the BioPower Group.
Kara initiated the project in partnership with Engr. Rane Joseph Saril and his son Pierce Allesandro, who provided the technical expertise to create it. Engr. Rommel Carisma did the engineering drawings.
Saril, the project supervisor, is a mechanical and bio-medical engineer with 20 years of experience in creating bio-safe labs and facilities in Asia and the Pacific.
Local businesses JMC Bacolod, Bacolod Polaris Enterprises, CT Glass, and Robiank Marketing and Advertising combined efforts to assemble the mobile unit.
The mayor’s daughter said their first swab mobile had started to collect samples from front-liners at health centers and quarantined OFWs since the second week of May.
“The second swab mobile will be operational once it has been disinfected. It will dispatch whenever the City Health Office deems necessary,” she added.
Kara said she had pushed for this project because she was alarmed by the number of doctors and nurses who had succumbed to COVID-19 in Manila during the earlier weeks of the pandemic. She also hopes that the swab mobile will give more confidence to health workers that they are kept safe as they go about their duties when swabbing for samples.
Meanwhile, the blessing and turnover ceremony for the second swab mobile was scheduled around 4:30 p.m. when there were fewer people at the Bacolod City Government Center. Attendees underwent temperature check and were asked to use hand sanitizer.*/CITY PIO