MANILA — The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has a licensed laboratory already for COVID-19 tests, its government said Wednesday.
“Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC) now gets accreditation as first licensed Covid-19 testing laboratory in BARMM,” the regional government posted on social media.
It said it allocated P14,135,500 to the hospital last April 13 “for the procurement and upgrading of medical and laboratory supplies to carry out diagnostic testing for COVID-19.”
“This development means BARMM areas in mainland Mindanao will now be relieved of the difficulty in having to send swabs and samples for Covid-19 testing to Metro Manila’s Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) or Davao City’s Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC),” the post reads.
According to BARMM’s Ministry of Health, as of May 16, there have been 11 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region. Four have died and 7 have already recovered.
There are 296 suspect cases, 271 of which have already been cleared or discharged and 25 undergoing home quarantine or hospital care.
The country currently has more than 30 COVID-19 testing laboratories. Until May 15, there were only 2 laboratories in Mindanao - one in Davao City, and another one in Zamboanga City.
The Department of Health has previously received flak for the supposed slow licensing process, but it said it is mostly because of the laboratories’ inability to comply with strict biosafety standards and other requirements.