SUBIC BAY FREEPORT -- A new Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility (TTMF) opened Wednesday, April 14, inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
The Manila Times College of Subic TTMF is ready to accept about 371 mild and asymptomatic Covid-19 patients.
“Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which is responsible for the renovation and civil works, has completed the Phase 1 and 2 of the facility. Aside from the electrical and water connection, it is also equipped with internet connection to provide more convenience to our patients,” Health Assistant Secretary Maria Francia Laxamana said.
The official stressed the importance of collaboration between the public and private sector, which made the establishment of the facility possible.
“The offer of Manila Times College of Subic Chairperson and CEO Dante Ang for the use of this facility to the national government is very timely. At that time, our goal is really to consolidate the resources of the Inter-Agency Task Force and the NTF. With a series of meetings, we came up with strategies, we did the ocular, scanning, and scoping. And it was really an important basic start,” Laxamana said.
Aside from the private sector and DPWH, Laxamana also cited the inter-agency collaboration of the NTF member agencies in fast-tracking the conversion of the facility into a TTMF in just a couple of months.
These include Department of Health and Bureau of Quarantine who will be responsible for managing the operation of the facility; Department of Information and Communications Technology who committed to put up internet connectivity; Office of Civil Defense who was able to put up the other services and who is responsible for the food and meals of the patients; Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA); and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), among others.
“Because of the support, commitment, and the compassion of each agency and other stakeholders, we were able to come up with strategies to fast track this. I think the very important inspiration to encourage all the members of the team is to augment, help, and alleviate the increasing number of Covid cases in NCR Plus,” she said.
Laxamana also cited that the inauguration of the facility is a leap from the previous ideas of quarantine and isolation facilities in the country, with its added amenities.
“When we talk about Covid, it usually has an aspect of morbidity to it. Whether mild or asymptomatic, it turns out that these [Covid-19] patients had depression and anxiety. So we are removing all those mental health and psychosocial symptoms from our patients. That’s why we are adding another program here which is the Covid-19 wellness program,” she said.
DOH will involve the Mariveles Mental Wellness and General Hospital in the TTMF, as well as the Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital as its referral facility.
“This is just a start but we are planning to extend this because the dream of the NTF is for this to become a mega treatment monitoring facility for the entire North Luzon and NCR Plus,” she said.
For his part, DOH Undersecretary and NTF Covid-19 Treatment Czar Leopoldo Vega stressed that the first intervention in the fight against Covid-19 is the suppression of the transmission of the virus.
“This [TTMF] is one of the suppression methods that we are trying to do because if we can’t suppress the virus, it will spread, it will replicate, and it will actually move towards vulnerable persons who will have serious diseases or severe Covid. We don’t want that to happen. And this isolation center stops the transmission because the virus can’t find another host to replicate,” he said.
Vega also cited the advantage of the Manila Times Compound, as it is situated in an area where there is a hospital.
“It’s easy to integrate treatment and isolation here. If you are able to do this, reopen up the old hospital here in Manila Times, then we have a very integrated kind of approach in terms of not just isolation but also treatment. And this will be very good for the community of SBMA – a health facility capable of handling mild to severe cases later on. And an isolation facility that can actually suppress the transmission and the replication of the virus,” the official added.
For her part, SBMA Chairperson and Administrator Wilma Eisma expressed her support to the initiative, saying this is a milestone event for everyone.
“When Secretary Vince Dizon called me, it’s a no-brainer. Of course, I will say yes. I not only will be helping the country in our current problem but also supporting Subic for also our similar concerns,” she said.
Eisma also thanked the DOH and the NTF for granting her request for a dedicated number of beds guaranteed for the constituencies of SBMA, including its locators and residents.
“I am happy to inform you that our cases in SBMA are relatively low because of our very strict implementation. However, we requested for dedicated beds so that whatever happens, we have back up numbers,” she said.
Eisma committed to help increase the capacity of the Manila Times TTMF by moving the equipment and hospital beds here from the Subic Gym.
“It will be a similar scenario which will make it easier also for us and it will add additional capacity. It’s just really a matter of helping each other. It’s like what we always say here in SBMA, #StrongerTogether,” Eisma said.
BCDA President and NTF Covid-19 Testing Czar Vince Dizon thanked stakeholders for fast-tracking new isolation and treatment facilities nationwide.
“This facility is very important given the challenges we are going through today brought about the unpredictability of Covid-19,” he said. (PIA)