Press Release
April 3, 2020

Bong Go lauds efforts to convert public facilities into isolation sites and vessels into floating quarantine hospitals to help stop the spread of COVID-19

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and as a member of the Joint Oversight Committee that oversees the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go commended concerned agencies for their initiatives to augment the availability of quarantine facilities in the country.

Go also lauded the immediate action of concerned agencies in heeding his early call to prepare the New Clark City to serve as a "safe haven" for returning overseas Filipinos who are stranded or have to undergo self-quarantine measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

"Lahat tayo naghihirap at lahat naman tayo gustong malampasan ang krisis na ito. Magtulungan at magbayanihan po tayo para mabilis na maresolba ang mga problemang hinaharap natin. Gawin po natin ang lahat ng ating makakaya para matigil ang pagkalat ng virus," Go reiterated.

The Senator acknowledged the efforts of the Department of Public Works and Highways and Bases Conversion and Development Authority to convert several public facilities into isolation sites and tent cities to cater to Persons Under Investigation (PUI) and Persons Under Monitoring (PUM).

"Welcome po sa atin ang ginagawa ng DPWH at BCDA na pag-convert sa mga public facilities into tent cities at isolation sites para magsilbi ring quarantine facilities. Napakalaking tulong po nito upang hindi na lalong kumalat pa ang COVID-19," he added.

Several facilities have been proposed to serve as isolation sites including the Philippine International Convention Center, World Trade Center, Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, and Philippine Institute of Sports Multi-Purpose (PhilSports) Arena. These will be converted into isolation facilities for almost 3,000 patients.

Meanwhile, the open grounds of these facilities, and that of the Quezon Memorial Circle, University of the Philippines-Diliman Campus, Veterans Memorial Medical Center, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) will also be utilized for prototype tents where a total of 747 tents may be deployed to accommodate up to 7,470 patients.

Tents will have proper ventilation and appurtenances, and toilets and bathrooms, according to the DPWH.

The DPWH is also eyeing the old Casino Filipino building near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 as an isolation facility. Four open spaces at the Philippine General Hospital were also identified by the DPWH which could accommodate COVID-19 patients.

The department is also in cooperation with real estate developer DMCI for the conversion of the Quezon Institute, FTI in Taguig City, Filinvest Tent and Duty Free Philippines in Parañaque, and the Amoranto Stadium in Quezon City as either tent cities or isolation facilities.

In an interview, BCDA President and CEO Vince Dizon also said that extensive sanitation measures of the New Clark City Athletes' Village have already been undertaken to ensure that the facilities remain suitable for quarantine use. Dizon added that the New Clark City is being prepared so it can be used by PUIs in Central Luzon.

"Nakahanda na ang pasilidad sa NCC bilang isang 'safe haven' sa mga stranded at sa mga kailangan i-quarantine sa Central Luzon. May libreng pagkain, at lahat po ng pangangailangan nila ay naibibigay po natin. Pati ang mga doctor, tsine-check sila para siguraduhin na wala po sa kanila ang magkakasakit," he added.

The BCDA official also mentioned that the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan has been offered by religious group Iglesia Ni Cristo to serve as an isolation site or a tent city. Several facilities in Central Luzon are also being converted into such temporary facilities, including the Tarlac Convention Center.

Meanwhile, Go has also discussed with ferry companies, such as 2GO Travel, in coordination with the Philippine Coast Guard and the Department of Transportation, regarding the use of available ships and vessels to be converted into floating quarantine areas.

These identified ships with a combined capacity of 1,800 can be initially used as floating quarantine hospitals. A terminal is also estimated to have an additional capacity of roughly 1,000. The initiative to utilize these facilities will start implementation and mobilization very soon.

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