THE Philippine government is ramping up the conversion of major facilities in Metro Manila and in other parts of the country into instant hospitals to effectively control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and ensure the safety of the communities.
The Rizal Memorial Sports Complex-Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila City, the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Forum Halls and the World Trade Center, both in Pasay City are being transformed into quarantine sites.
“As of now, we identified those three sites with the help of DOH (Department of Health). So as early as this week we hope to deliver additional facilites,” said Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar in a video call during the Laging Handa briefing on Friday.
He said the expectation “is to house 936 patients, but we have expansion plans—there are open fields that may be used, but right now we focus on these locations because they are near to hospitals, and in terms of logistics, are more ready for use,” Villar added.
During the briefing, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO and Presidential Adviser for Flagship Programs and Projects Secretary Vince Dizon laid down the three objectives in developing the quarantine facilities: 1) reduce the community spread of Covid-19, 2) decongest hospitals in Metro Manila to save more lives, and 3) save patients at the first stages of the disease and protect the frontliners.
“With so many people getting infected in Metro Manila, our hospitals are slowly filling to the brim. We want to reduce the number of people confined in hospitals, so we can prioritieze those in critical condition or are severely infected,” Dizon said.
Dizon said about a thousand patients can benefit from the three major facilities in Metro Manila, especially residents in the surrounding areas.
The Ninoy Aquino Stadium inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex will be operational as early as next week, while both the PICC and the World Trade Center in Pasay City will be finished on April 11.
The quarantine facilities will have airconditioned cubicles, free food for patients and the frontliners, free access to internet connection, and 24/7 monitoring by doctors and nurses.
Architect Dan Lichauco, an expert in hospital design, emphasized that each facility is designed to ensure protection of the staff and health workers, and followed the protocols of the Department of Health (DOH).
“The hospitals itself are designed to make sure the patients are comfortable. We made sure that there are outlets in their cubicles so that they can plug-in their devices, we also have nourishment stations, water stations, so that they can basically get what they need while they are quarantined there. We have adequate toilets and showers in each facility and in everything we do, we made sure na hindi po magkakahawaan ang mga tao and we’re protecting the nurses and the staff as they move in and out of the facility,” Lichauco said.
Lichauco designed the quarantine centers in Metro Manila, ensuring these facilities meet the needs of patients, and at the same time, protect our frontliners. He was also the architect for the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), Medical City hospitals, The Asian Hospital and Medical Center, and the UP-PGH Polyclinic in New Clark City.
The other facilities in the National Capital Region that will be converted into instant hospitals include the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, Quezon City Circle, Amoranto Stadium, Quezon Institute, PhilSports Complex, Duty Free, FTI station in Taguig City and the Filinvest Tent in Alabang. Construction of facilities in Central Luzon are also underway at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, the Asean Convention Center in Clark, Pampanga, and the New Clark City Government Center in Capas, Tarlac. The New Clark City Athletes’ Village will also be used as a quarantine site.
The national government partnered with the private sector in this initiative. It got support from: the Razon Group (Prime Metro BMD Corporation and the Bloomberry Cultural Foundation, Inc.), EEEI Corporation, Vista Land, the Ayala Group (AC Energy, Ayala Land, Makati Development Corporation), Filinvest, Investment & Capital Corporation of the Philippines, Aboitiz, World Trade Center Metro Manila, Lina Group of Companies, Meralco, PLDT, Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, D.M. Consunji, Inc., and the Concepcion Industrial Corporation.
Dizon, along with National Task Force COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Undersecretary Emil Sadain, also inspected the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, PICC, and WTC Friday morning.