DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, the “chief isolation czar” of the National IATF, had announced that they are ramping up construction of healthcare facilities to support urgent needs created by the recent spike of Covid-19 cases in Bacolod City.
These projects will be overseen by the Task Force to Facilitate Augmentation of National and Local Health Facilities, headed by DPWH Undersecretary Emil Sadain, and assisted by DPWH-6 Regional Director Leah Delfinado.
During the ceremonial contract-signing between Bacolod City and the DPWH last September 9 at the L’Fisher Hotel, Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., Chief Implementer of the National Task Force on Covid-19, who witnessed the signing, announced that “109 Covid facilities will be built by the DPWH for Bacolod, upon the request of Mayor Bing (Leonardia).”
The assistance package will cost an estimated P42.5 million for the 109 Covid facilities.
Mayor Leonardia, for his part, said, “We are deeply grateful to Secretary Villar for providing Bacolod with these facilities for free. This will save us a lot of local funds that we can use for other Covid-response expenditures.”
“But more than that, we can now more timely isolate in these facilities the asymptomatic or mild positive cases that come up as we intensify our contact tracing efforts, and free up the hospitals to take care of the moderate and critical cases,” Leonardia added.
The first 32 container van-type isolation rooms are now being built at what used to be the plant nursery of the City Agriculture Office. This facility, including equipment, will cost P25 million, and is slated for completion by September 30.
The contract for this project between the City and the DPWH was ratified by the Sangguniang Panlungsod last month.
The second facility, costing P13.5 million, will provide 32 beds for dormitory use of healthcare workers of the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital, but which can be converted into an isolation facility for them, too, should the need arise.
For the third facility, the DPWH will re-purpose the Regional Evacuation Center at Brgy. Vista Alegre into another isolation facility with 45 cubicles for asymptomatic and mild Covid-positive cases, furnished with beds and electric fans. This is estimated to cost P4 million.
The said Regional Evacuation Center has not yet been officially turned over to the City; thus, re-purposing works for it will be handled and funded by the DPWH, as agreed between DPWH officials and Leonardia.
In addition to the 109 Covid facilities already to be undertaken, Leonardia also asked for another 32 rooms of isolation facilities, and was advised by DPWH RD Delfinado to prepare the land component for it.
Leonardia said that the City has the land area required and will submit the siting proposal to DPWH Region 6 within the next few days. (PR)