Press Release
April 13, 2020

Bong Go joins ocular of quarantine facilities; urges government to exert all efforts possible to control the spread of COVID-19

As the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and a member of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee monitoring the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go visited on Monday, April 13, the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Rizal Memorial Sports Complex that was converted into a quarantine site to help isolate patients and control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Joining Go in the inspection were Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, Bases Conversion and Development Authority President Vince Dizon, Office of Civil Defence Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, and other officials from the health and infrastructure agencies.

An inspection of the World Trade Center, Philippine International Convention Center Forum Hall and other facilities was also conducted by other officials on the same day.

"Isa sa aking panawagan noong mga nakaraang linggo ay ang pagbuo ng quarantine areas gamit ang mga available facilities na pwedeng mai-convert into isolation sites," Go said.

"Ngayon na available na ang mga pasilidad na na-convert into isolation sites, pwede nang gamitin ang mga ito para mas agresibo nating masugpo at ma-contain ang pagkalat ng COVID-19," the Senator added.

According to Health officials, the WTC, PICC and Ninoy Aquino Stadium inside RMSC will cater to mild and asymptomatic patients while Rizal Memorial Stadium will be a COVID-19 step-down facility. With the facilities in place, a total of 1,125 beds are now available to patients from Metro Manila and nearby regions.

"Nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat ng tumulong at nag-facilitate ng conversion ng mga facilities na ito. Malaking tulong ito sa ating mga kapwa Pilipino. Mas maaalagaan dito ang mga kumpirmadong positive sa COVID-19 at mailalayo sila sa komunidad para hindi makahawa ng ibang tao," the Senator said.

The facilities will be managed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police medical corps composed of doctors, nurses and medical staff.

"Ang inspeksyon na ito ay para masigurado natin na tama at may sapat na mga kagamitan tayo para matugunan ang mga pasyente. Higit sa lahat, sinisigurado rin natin ang kapakanan ng ating mga health workers, ang ating frontliners, na mayroon silang maayos na schedule at pati na rin ang kanilang mga gamit, tulad ng personal protective equipment (PPE)," Go explained.

The PPEs for health workers will be provided by the Department of Health. The facilities will also offer free laundry services and food. Utility companies, such as Meralco and PLDT, will provide free electricity and wifi connection, respectively.

Go also turned over to the Ninoy Aquino Stadium quarantine facility various goods from private donors. Donations consisted of 49 boxes of toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo and body soap), and 31 boxes of slippers.

Other than the facilities above, sports and convention areas outside Metro Manila are also being converted into quarantine sites. These are the Philippine Arena, Tarlac Convention Center, and facilities inside New Clark City.

The officials present in the ocular then went to a terminal in Pier 15 South Harbor in Manila to also check on the ships offered by the 2GO Company, that were converted into floating quarantine facilities.

They were met by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Philippine Coast Guard officials in charge of converting the private passenger vessels into temporary floating quarantine facilities compliant with health standards.

Two ships are now readily available to receive patients in need of medical treatment and emergency. The first ship has a 350-bed capacity and can be used as accommodation for medical frontliners, while the other ship has a 1,500-bed capacity.

"Centrally located itong Pier 15 kaya kapag kailangan ng medical treatment o may emergency, ang mga ospital sa Manila ay nasa 1-km to 4-km radius distance lamang," Go said.

"Patuloy ang pagsasaayos ng dagdag na health facilities bilang pagresponde sa COVID-19. Patunay ito na hindi tumitigil sa pagtrabaho ang gobyerno at higit sa lahat, talagang nagtutulungan ang bawat isa para maiahon ang buong bansa mula sa krisis," he added.

Meanwhile, the government continues to enhance more hospitals and medical laboratories to be capable of being COVID-19 testing centers in different parts of the country. With more quarantine facilities and testing centers in place, officials are optimistic that these will help increase recovery rate of patients and control the further spread of COVID-19 in the country.

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