Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, together with a group of friends called Art Rockers headed by Dr. Steven Lim and Dr. Enrique Posas, donated thirteen thousand (13,000) COVID-19 PCR test kits to public and private hospitals for the use of their medical frontliners and symptomatic patients.
Zubiri led the donations to the Philippine General Hospital, through the University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health, by raising close to PHP 5 million of his own personal funds and that of two of his close friends who wish to stay anonymous, giving six thousand (6,000) COVID-19 PCR test kits to the PGH. This is in support of his call for massive testing that he made during interviews he did over television and radio while on self-isolation quarantine.
Zubiri has chosen to direct his donation to UP – NIH, which received its Stage 5 laboratory accreditation from the Department of Health on 2 April 2020. This accreditation is a green light for the facility to conduct full scale testing.
He partnered with the group Art Rockers, made up of doctors and friends who promote arts and culture in the country, with notable members such as Sen. Sonny Angara, Julius Babao, Ces Drilon, Mayor Richard Gomez, Aga Muhlach, Edu Manzano, and several business people, as well as several doctors from different hospitals.
Art Rockers raised an additional PHP 9.7 million for the additional seven thousand and one hundred (7,100) kits to be donated to St. Lukes Medical Centers, Makati Medical Center, Medical City, UST Hospital, and Asian Hospital.
“This is the best example of our Bayanihan Spirit, where we see private sector support in beating this epidemic,” Dr. Steve Lim said on behalf of his group.
“From first-hand experience, I know how easily and deceptively this virus can spread,” Zubiri said. He was the first public official in the country to publicly disclose his positive diagnosis for COVID-19. “Traydor itong virus na ‘to. Kahit mag-ingat po tayo, at mag-practice tayo ng social distancing out in public, napakadali pa rin pong mahawaan, at makahawa, nito.”
“Kaya kailangan na po talaga natin ng massive testing. That has been our rallying cry since we first learned that there was a case of local transmission in San Juan. We cannot battle this virus if we cannot even confirm how many of our people already have it, and which places have the most cases and therefore need tighter containment efforts,” Zubiri said.
“We are asking our people to be responsible about this virus-to stay at home and limit their exposure so that our hospitals don’t get overwhelmed. But alongside the cooperation of our people, we do still need to conduct massive testing, so our hospitals can brace themselves and respond accordingly,” Lim said
Zubiri said, “This donation of COVID-19 test kits is our way of helping the DOH reach the goal of massive testing. I know that our entire medical community is in overdrive right now, trying to control this pandemic in the midst of a global shortage of resources. Sana po makatulong itong munting donation namin kahit papaano, para tuluyan na nating malabanan at ma-eliminate ang COVID-19 dito sa Pilipinas./Stacy Ang