By Kris Crismundo
MANILA – The government is scouting firms producing test kits for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) to put up manufacturing facilities in the Philippines, a trade official said.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said this supports the national government’s push to increase the country’s testing capacity for the disease.
“There are possible investors for test kits that will enter here, and investors in general for manufacturing,” he said in Filipino during an online briefing with trade reporters late last week.
Rodolfo added that the government was eyeing to attract investors for both polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing facilities and rapid test kit makers to locate in the country.
At least one rapid test kit maker will likely invest in the Philippines this year, but an investment for PCR testing is more complex, the official said.
“I am sure, if it is rapid test kits, we can have an investor here for rapid test kits,” Rodolfo said in Filipino. “I think, we can get at least one rapid test kit manufacturer.”
Current test kit makers for Covid-19 have their facilities in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States, Rodolfo said.
The official is expected to have a meeting with South Korean counterparts next month and will also talk with potential Covid-19 test kit investors.
“The rapid test kit from South Korea is three times more expensive than those from China. So we are saying if you will do that in the Philippines you may further reduce your price and be more competitive than China,” he said.
Aside from South Korean companies, Rodolfo said even before the Covid-19 pandemic, a Taiwanese company making vaccines had expressed interest to invest in the country. (IA/PNA)