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Japanese PCR test machine, kit maker to invest in PH

November 25, 2020 - Wednesday 9:11 PM by PNA

Article Banner Image PNA FILE PHOTO by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler

MANILA – A senior trade official said Wednesday that a Japanese manufacturer of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test equipment will be investing in the country before the year ends. 

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo told the Philippine News Agency that the activities of the Japanese investors will involve producing polymerase (PCR) test kits and assembling PCR machines amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Rodolfo said the Japanese firm is one of the foreign manufacturers of Covid-19-related products that aims to put up their facilities here.

He declined to name the Japanese company as well as the investment value, but it will register its project with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), an attached investment promotion agency of DTI.

“They’ve seen that we have a good supply chain. It’s more of electronics so we have the supply chain. We also have the engineers here. And what’s critical to them is we do not impose (an) export ban,” Rodolfo said.

He said the company considered the move of the Philippines not to implement an export ban on products critical for mitigating Covid-19 infection like medical grade face masks despite the country having only one face mask maker at the onset of the pandemic.

“It’s critical for them because they can supply to the domestic market and they can also export. They are afraid that if they locate in other countries, their products will get stuck in that market,” he added.

PCR testing has been the gold standard for Covid-19 testing.

The DTI has been active in inviting companies to manufacture Covid-19-related products, such as medical-grade personal protective equipment (PPE), test kits, medical supplies and equipment, medicines, and vaccines, in the country.

The country started with only one maker of medical-grade surgical face masks with a production capacity of only one million per month.

There were no PPE makers in the country until several garment exporters repurposed their facilities into the production of medical-grade PPE to cater to the domestic demand as well as the international market.

The Philippines is now producing 60 million medical-grade face masks and 3.2 million pieces of coveralls per month.

The country is now also producing ventilators and other medical equipment critical for the fight against Covid-19.  Kris Crismundo