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Homegrown quarantine facilities reach 22, and snowballing

Architects, Megawide, AFP lead furious drive to clobber COVID-19

Since kicking off a project to build emergency quarantine facilities (EQFs) for local government units (LGUs) and hospitals 30 days ago, a group of Filipino architects, engineering and construction conglomerate Megawide, and officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), have  completed 22 EQFs, with 23 currently being built, and 14 poised to start construction.

“We are targeting 62 EQFs within and outside Metro Manila,” William Ti, principal architect of WTA Architecture and Design Studio (WTA), told the Manila Standard. 

Ti is part of a group of Filipino architects, businessmen and officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who latched on to the idea last month to design and build emergency quarantine facilities to help hospitals accommodate more  COVID 19 patients.

Megawide volunteers, including engineers, electricians, plumbers, and carpenters, are helping construct the  EQFs, designed by Ti , at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) and the Fe Del Mundo Medical Center (FDMMC). Megawide is also building EQF units for Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital (DJNRMH) and Cardinal Santos Medical Center (CSMC).

With the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rising in the Philippines, hospitals since March have raised the alarm of insufficient space to accommodate patients who tested positive for the virus.

Local government units, together with private sector donors,  have also been exploring the use of hotels, open lots, and other public spaces as quarantine centers. 

Construction at a fast clip 

“The EQFs are part of the company’s efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak,” said Eric Tan, Megawide deputy chief for construction.

“Our staff have committed to volunteer for a total of 12 days to build the EQFs, and we finished construction of the EQFS for FDMMC and NKTI on day 5,” Tan revealed to the Manila Standard. “We are targeting to complete construction for the DJNRMH and CSMC EQFs by day 10.”

To date,  Ti said EQFs have been built at the Manila Naval hospital, Taguig City; Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo station hospital, Quezon City; PNP regional health service - NCR police office, Taguig City; Philippine Air Force general hospital, Pasay City; Quezon City general hospital; Cavite naval hospital, Cavite; Army general hospital, Fort Andres Bonifacio; Antipolo Institute of Technology, Rizal; Ospital ng Muntilupa;  V. Luna general hospital, Quezon City; National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Quezon City;  Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, Quezon City; Fernando Air Base Hospital, Batangas; Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Muntinlupa; Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Muntinlupa;  Sacred Heart Hospital, Bulacan;  Bulacan Medical Center, Bulacan; Pasig City Children’s Hospital; Ospital ng Parañaque;  and Ospital ng Makati/Pembo.

Taking the pressure off hospitals

Ti said the additional support from private sector donors has given the project added impetus, with many signing in to the concept of easy-to-build facilities which can house persons under investigation (PUIs).

“As we have always advocated, we all need to pitch in to augment the capacities of the hospitals, as they become unable to accept more patients,” Ti said. “This would prevent people who are under quarantine from being forced to go home and infect their families and friends.”

Ti added that with a few modifications over the past two weeks, the design has remained essentially the same: a horizontal structure with a wooden frame wrapped in a protective plastic skin.

The facility, which can be used free of charge, can accommodate 15 beds, a testing box, sanitation and disinfection areas, and a nurse’s lounge. 

Each facility can be built at a cost of around P350,000, within a period of five days.

“I think we’re on the right track, timeline-wise,” he said.

Giving frontliners a hand

One private sector donor who declined to be identified, expressed pride over the project.  “I have such a huge respect for the frontliners in the field right now. So I’m thinking to myself, how can I help them also and then this opportunity came up,” she said.

The said donor’s network has been instrumental in bringing materials for the construction of the EQFs, particularly in the neighboring provinces in Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

“Anyone, no matter how small, can help through the project,” she added. “Any amount will really be of value. And if not through this, I hope more people will be aware of the situation and find ways to help our frontliners and the people affected.” 

Currently, the EQF project is funded through donations from the private sector such as Megawide,  including WTA Architecture and Design Studio, UAP Manila Metro Chapter, Anthology Festival Foundation, and volunteers and friends from both inside and outside the architecture community. 

Donors can help out by visiting:  fb.com/eqfacility

Topics: emergency quarantine facilities , COVID-19 , William Ti , Local government units
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