Philippine residents who need to get themselves checked for COVID-19 can now do it conveniently in 20 testing centers offering saliva RT-PCR tests around the country.
The less-intrusive and cheaper mode of testing is conducted by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) that began rolling out the test kits to its Mandaluyong and Manila laboratories following the Department of Health's approval of its private use on Jan. 25.
Unlike the nasal swab test, these saliva tests are considered pain-free, as it only requires the collection of 1.5 to 2 milliliters of saliva through a vial. Results were proven to have 98.1% accuracy, according to PRC biomolecular laboratories chief Dr. Paulyn Ubial.
It is processed in three to 10 hours before it is sent to the patient via email. The testing is also noticeably cheaper at only P2,000 compared to nasal swab tests priced at P3,800.
Aside from their laboratories, PRC began mounting drive-thru testing centers in malls this month to make COVID-19 testing both affordable and accessible for every Filipino.
“So that people in the malls see that it’s so easy, they would come over. Walang aray at mabilis and cheaper. And with more and more people coming over… we can bring [the cases] down,” PRC Chairperson Senator Richard Gordon said during his contract signing with Robinsons Land Corporation on Feb. 18.
Gordon added that it is also a solution to restore the country’s struggling tourism industry. “That’s why we’re also working not just in malls but also in schools. And the factory workers and everybody can all [identify] those people who are sick and find out right away. So that our tourism can move fast,” he said.
PRC notes though that according to the Inter-Agency Task Force’s guidelines, saliva tests may not be used by travelers departing for other countries.
To avail yourself of PRC’s saliva test, you must first book an appointment on their website. Payments are likewise done online via credit card, GCash, or GrabPay. Samples are taken in any of PRC's 20 testing sites listed below.
- PRC Building, New City Hall Compound, BOGO City
- Philippine Red Cross Cebu Chapter, Osmeña Boulevard, Cebu City
- Cebu North Road, Jagobiao, Mandaue City
- SM City Cebu, Juan Luna Ave., Cebu City
SM SouthMall North West Front Parking, Alabang-Zapote Road
- The Deck, Ayala Malls Circuit, Circuit Makati
- Jaime Velasquez Park, Salcedo Village
- PRC Logistics and Multipurpose Center, Apo cor. Pinatubo St.
- PRC Rizal Chapter Mandaluyong Branch, Lourdes 1 Building, Boni Ave.
- SM Megamall Bus Bay Mega A, EDSA cor. Doña Julia Vargas Ave.
- PRC Port Area, DSG Office, Bonifacio Drive
- Robinsons Place Manila, M. Adriatico cor. Pedro Gil St., Ermita
- Araneta City Bus Port, General Romulo Ave., Cubao
- SM Fairview Open Parking H, Belfast Ave.
Philippine Red Cross Rizal Chapter Parañaque City Branch, Dr. A Santos Ave.
SM Mall of Asia 5 Ecom Open Parking, Pacific Drive cor. Palm Coast Ave.
Philippine Red Cross Rizal Chapter Building 611, Aurora Shaw Boulevard, Kapitolyo
PRC Rizal Chapter San Juan Branch, FilOil Flying V Araneta Centre
Market! Market! 3rd-floor Parking Building, Bonifacio Global City
Philippine Red Cross East Rizal Province Branch, Muzon
Banner photo courtesy of Boy Santos/The STAR.