In an online press conference Monday, Joey Concepcion said the PMA and Project ARK have agreed to work together to protect both health and the economy.
STAR/ File
Doctors, ARK to work together to save lives, livelihood
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - June 3, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Medical Association (PMA), which is now recommending the use of rapid test kits after criticizing them, is set to collaborate with Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion’s Project Antibody Rapid test Kit (ARK) initiative to help save both lives and livelihood.

In an online press conference Monday, Concepcion said the PMA and Project ARK have agreed to work together to protect both health and the economy.

“This is at the forefront of our mind that as we move towards a GCQ (general community quarantine), we really want to work very hard to prevent a recurrence of the infection that could lead to a second lockdown which would be devastating for the Philippine economy,” he said.

While the PMA was among the medical groups that opposed the use of antibody rapid test kits, citing their inaccuracy on individuals already infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), PMA president Dr. Jose Santiago said yesterday he would recommend the use of antibody rapid test kits.

“Antibody test per se, by itself, has its usefulness. Of course it should be done in a timely manner so that you could really maximize and not waste testing kits,” he said.

He added not all antibody tests are created equal and some would be more reliable than others.

When medical groups, including PMA, earlier expressed opposition to the use of test kits, Concepcion defended their use and said the groups who were complaining but not doing anything should offer a better alternative.

Concepcion has apologized for that comment and Santiago said the PMA has accepted the apology.

“We’re not declaring war on anybody, we’re declaring war on the invisible enemy. We should be one in our mission and objective to defeat COVID-19. Conversation, not confrontation; collaboration not competition. We cannot afford another lockdown or second wave of infection,” Santiago said.

He said the group understands Concepcion’s stand for pushing for the health of the economy.

“We cannot win this war if we are divided, we have to stay united with one another. Together we save lives, together we save the economy,” Santiago said.

Project ARK seeks to ramp up mass testing using both rapid test kits and the Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

Under the project, participating companies are testing employees using the rapid test kits and donating similar kits to barangays.

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