BACOLOD City – The city government of Bacolod and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) inaugurated on Friday a newly constructed 32-room quarantine facility here to cater coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.
Secretary Vivencio Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, who is also Malacañang’s chief testing czar, led the inauguration and turnover of the facility to the city government. The facility is situated at the former plant nursery of the City Agriculture Office in Barangay Alijis, which was purchased by the city in 1997.
DPWH constructed the facility at a cost of P25 million, in support of Bacolod’s need for additional healthcare facilities for asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 cases. It was part of the assistance package for COVID-19 facilities in the city that is estimated to cost the DPWH around P42.5 million.
Each of the 32 rooms has a comfort room, an air-conditioning unit, and a hot and cold shower. For each set of 16 rooms, there is a Nurses’ Station, Male and Female Medical Staff Quarters with comfort room, and Utility Room. The facility has a 100 KVA standby generator, Sanitation Area, Water Tanks, and ramp with railings.
The construction of the facility began on August 14, and was finished on October 15. It was one of the three healthcare facilities in Negros Occidental.
Based on their memorandum of agreement, the city government will be in-charge of the water, electricity and the maintenance of the facility.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia expressed his gratitude to the DPWH for giving the facility for free.
The mayor said the project will save the city a lot of local funds that it can use for other COVID-response expenditures.
The city government can also accommodate in these facilities more asymptomatic or mild COVID positive cases as it intensifies its contact tracing efforts, and free up the hospitals so it can take care of the moderate and critical cases, he added.
Also, Leonardia said he has written DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, who is also Malacañang’s chief isolation czar, asking for another 32 quarantine/isolation rooms with similar configurations to be constructed at the same location because there are still space available.
For his part, Dizon reiterated that they cannot be complacent because COVID-19 is still here. “What happened in August in Negros [Occidental] and Bacolod, what happened in June in Cebu, can happen again,” he said.
He said the construction of healthcare facilities was part of the government’s readiness for COVID, but at the same time, he hopes that the situation will improve in the coming months.
“But if it happens again, we will be ready and we will be more ready than in August. It can be done, but we just have to be ready and always work together,” he added.
Also joining the inauguration were Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, Bacolod Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Councilor Renecito Novero, City Administrator Em Ang, Provincial Consultant Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez, DPWH-6 regional director Lea Delfinado, IATF-Visayas chief implementer Major General (Retired) Mel Feliciano, Barangay Captain Deogracias dela Vega of Alijis, and City Health Office officer-in-charge Dr. Edwin Miraflor.
Meanwhile, the CODE (Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic) Team, led by Dizon also inaugurated two other facilities – the Off-site Dormitory of the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City, and the Off-site Dormitory of the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital here.