The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has just announced its plan to convert venues used for large events into temporary treatment facilities for coronavirus (COVID-19) patients. Among these are venues like the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and World Trade Center (WTC) in Pasay City; as well as the historic Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.
DPWH Secretary, Mark Villar, has sent the department's head of Task Force to Facilitate Augmentation of Local and National Health Facilities Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain to conduct a site inspection and spearhead the meeting with Dr. Leonita P. Gorgolon of Department of Health (DOH), Architect Dan Lichauco of UP-Philippine General Hospital, technical members of DPWH Task Force, management officials of PICC, World Trade Center, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and representatives of EEI Corporation, Ayala Development Corporation, Makati Development Corporation, and Razon Group of Company.
The move is intended to supplement the capacity of existing medical facilities due to the increasing number of persons under investigation, persons under monitoring and confirmed COVID-19 persons with mild symptoms. The plan to convert these facilities is part of the government's efforts to focus and streamline resources to have a better fighting chance in eradicating the dreaded virus.
The multi-purpose PICC forum's halls 1 to 3, which has a usable area of about 4,000 square meters, will be converted into a COVID-19 treatment facility in 2 weeks that can accommodate 630 patients. Conversion works will be done by the DPWH and EEI Corporation — a private construction firm that will assist DPWH in the materials and manpower requirements.
WTCMM and Rizal Memorial Coliseum
The World Trade Center and the Rizal Memorial Coliseum will also be converted into health facilities for COVID-19 infection control. Conversion works will be done with the help of private construction companies. The Ayala Development Corporation and Makati Development Corporation committed to undertake the development of the World Trade Center Metro Manila. The Razon Group will handle the Philippine Sports Commission-operated Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, specifically the Ninoy Aquino Basketball Stadium.
As directed by the National Task Force COVID-19, the DPWH will accredit construction workers who will work on the three (3) facilities identified for the purposes of quarantine or isolation. These accredited workers shall be provided with quarantine passes to be exempted from the government’s strict home quarantine policy.