The city government of Ormoc in Leyte has entered into a memorandum of agreement with Lopez geothermal energy leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC) and non-stock, non-profit OSPA Farmers Medical Center (FMC) for the creation of a molecular diagnostic center that will enable more timely reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing of COVID-19 swab samples from residents not only in the city but from nearby provinces.
The landmark agreement was signed by Ormoc City Mayor Richard I. Gomez and Vice Mayor Leo Carmelo Locsin Jr., OSPA–FMC vice president Atty. Roy Bernard Fiel, and EDC management led by president and chief operating officer Richard B. Tantoco, and was witnessed by Deputy Chief Implementer of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases against COVID-19, Secretary Vivencio B. Dizon.
EDC donated the RT-PCR equipment worth about P25 million to Ormoc’s first COVID-19 testing facility that will be operated and maintained by OSPA–FMC, the most modern tertiary hospital on this side of Leyte. According to Gomez, the laboratory will greatly expedite the processing of COVID-19 swab samples, which previously required up to ten days.
“We can get our results in less than a day,” he said. “This project will bring very good news to the beautiful people of Ormoc City. This is something we really need in this time of crisis.”
For its part, EDC reiterated its commitment to improve the lives of Ormocanons. “We are very privileged to have an opportunity to address a clear gap for Ormoc City, the western part of Leyte, the province of Biliran, and Southern Leyte, that of having an RT-PCR testing center,” said Tantoco.
“While Ormoc City leadership does its job, we too strive to do ours, which is to provide around 40% of the electricity of the entire Visayas that is so necessary now, particularly with remote work and the increased demands on our healthcare system,” he added.
EDC owns and operates the 711-megawatt Leyte Geothermal Project, the company’s biggest facility that straddles Ormoc City and the Municipality of Kananga and utilizes the largest known geothermal wet steamfield in the world. It comprises the Malitbog geothermal power station, the world’s largest geothermal power plant, along with the Upper Mahiao, Mahanagdong A and B plants, and the 36-year old Tongonan power plant, which is one of EDC’s oldest geothermal power plants.
In total, EDC generates over 40% of the Philippines’ renewable energy output and serves about 10% of the country’s overall electricity demand with its installed capacity of 1,473.3MW. Its 1,179MW geothermal portfolio accounts for 61% of the country’s total installed geothermal capacity, putting the Philippines on the map as the world’s third largest geothermal power producer.