After converting various evacuation centers into health facilities, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is now looking into preparing existing public buildings and open spaces in Metro Manila to be used as health facilities and isolation sites to address the issue of hospital space shortage amid the continuing rise in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

Citing a report from DPWH Undersecretary for UPMO Operations and Technical Services Emil Sadain, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said a proposal is already in place to convert available spaces of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), World Trade Center (WTC), Rizal Memorial Coliseum, and the Philippine Institute of Sports Multipurpose (PhilSports) Arena to accommodate a total of 2,905 possible patients.

“The four buildings can accommodate a total of 2,905 possible patients.”

The four buildings have water and electrical lines that can be converted into isolation facilities preferably for persons under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs) for COVID-19.

Additionally, the open areas in the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), WTC, PhilSports Arena, Rizal Coliseum, Quezon City Memorial Circle, University of the Philippines-Diliman campus, and the Veterans Memorial Medical Center can also be used as ares where DPWH can install prototype tents.

“Tents will have proper ventilation and appurtenances, and toilets and bathrooms.”

With these available open spaces, an estimated 249 plots inclusive of 747 tents with three tents per plot of 800 square meters (40 meters by 20 meters) can be installed to accommodate up to 7,470 patients.

“In coordination with the Department of Health, DPWH through the Task Force to Facilitate Augmentation of Local and National Health Facilities headed by Undersecretary Sadain with its technical working group composed of Bureau of Maintenance Director Ernesto Gregorio Jr., Bureau of Construction Director Eric Ayapana, Bureau of Research and Standard Director Reynaldo Tagudando, and Bureau of Design Director Aristarco Doroy has drawn up the conversion of wide open spaces into isolation sites, where prototype tents can be installed. Tents will have proper ventilation and appurtenances, and toilets and bathrooms,” said Villar.

The DPWH will also look into the possibility of converting into isolation facility the old Casino Filipino building near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 in Pasay City.

Meanwhile, Sadain reported that 19 out of the 110 DPWH-built evacuation centers are now being used as health facilities across the country while 10 others are being used as Emergency Operation Centers.

“To date, the following Regions are utilizing evacuation centers as health facilities: Region 1 – 1, Region 2 – 2, Region 3 – 4, Region 6 – 2, Region 7 – 3, Region 9 – 1, Region 10 – 1, Region 11 – 3, and Region 13 – 2,” the public works official said.


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