MANILA – As part of its proactive response to the national health crisis, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is expediting the construction of another coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing center in the Visayas.

PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa mobilized the PNP Command Group through PNP Deputy Chief for Administration Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan, head of the Administrative Support to Covid-19 Operations Task Force (ASCOTF), to fast-track the construction of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) laboratory in Central Visayas.

“Capacity-building measures such as having our own testing laboratories will ensure that our police front-liners are tested and that we get the results fast,” Gamboa said in a statement on Saturday.

He said the PNP is seeking the help of the Department of Health (DOH) to find a suitable site for the proposed testing facility.

“It is in protecting our own PNP personnel that we are able to protect the Filipino people better,” Gamboa said.

Central Visayas has been reverted to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) upon recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) following a recent spike in Covid-19 cases in Cebu.

On May 26, the PNP opened its first RT-PCR laboratory at Camp Crame in Quezon City. The facility has 150 testing capacity per day.

As of June 19, the PNP has 483 personnel infected with Covid-19.

Of the 483 confirmed cases, the PNP has recorded 225 infections in Metro Manila and 112 in Central Visayas.

The PNP personnel have been designated as front-liners, imposing ECQ and other quarantine protocols to contain the spread of Covid-19 throughout the country.

On Saturday, the DOH reported 943 new infections, bringing the country’s total Covid-19 cases to 29,400. It also tallied 7,650 recoveries and 1,150 deaths as of June 20. (PNA)