Rizal Memorial Complex in Manila, which has seen many of the country’s sportsmen and athletes, will be operational Monday as a quarantine facility for COVID-19 patients, the National Task Force against the pandemic Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez Jr., said.
“We will inspect it and ensure the quality of its facilities. The Philippine General Hospital will then transfer its COVID-19 positive asymptomatic and symptomatic patients on Tuesday,” Galvez told doctors during a teleconference Sunday.
Galvez convened doctors from private hospitals in Manila to discuss pressing logistical concerns which must be addressed by the NTF.
“Our strategy is to transfer patients with mild COVID-19 symptoms.
It will also be manned by three doctors and 50 nurses from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police medical services,” he explained.
Galvez’s pronouncement was in response to the concern that there were non-COVID-19 patients who needed medical attention but could not do so because clinics were closed to the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine or lockdown.
The re-purposed sports complex features air-conditioned cubicles, free food for patients and frontliners, free Internet connection, and 24/7 monitoring by AFP and PNP doctors and nurses.
To speed up the conversion of sports complexes and convention centers into quarantine sites, the government has partnered with private firms who pledged to support the task force’s efforts to prevent the spread of the disease, including the Razon Group (Prime Metro BMD Corp. and the Bloomberry Cultural Foundation Inc.), EEEI Corp., Vista Land, the Ayala Group (AC Energy, Ayala Land, Makati Development Corp.); Filinvest, Investment & Capital Corporation of the Philippines, Aboitiz, World Trade Center Metro Manila, Lina Group of Companies, Meralco, PLDT, Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, D.M. Consunji Inc., and the Concepcion Industrial Corp.
China sends medical team
Meanwhile, a 12-member medical team from China arrived on Sunday in Manila to help and advise the Philippine government in its battle against COVID-19.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. in his Twitter account welcomed the arrival of the Chinese medical experts, saying “the Chinese experts arrived with invaluable first-hand experiences to share on fighting and containing Covid. Thank you China.”
In his remarks during the welcoming and turnover ceremony, Chinese Ambassador to Philippines Huang Xilian said the Chinese government had dispatched the 12-man Anti-Epidemic Medical Expert Team to assist the Philippines in its fight against COVID pandemic.
Beijing also donated on Sunday another batch of medical supplies to Manila, including 300,000 surgical masks, 30,000 medical N95 masks, 5,000 medical protective suits, 5,000 medical face shields, and 30 non-invasive ventilators.
PCSO boosts PhilHealth fight
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office boosted the coronavirus disease-related packages of Philippine Health Insurance Corp. when it transferred P420.58 million to the latter for treatment of patients.
In a statement, PCSO General Manager Royina Garma said PCSO’s contribution would reinforce the capability of PhilHealth to respond to the pandemic.
Ang Pangulo quarantine ship
At the same time, the Philippine Navy has devised a feasible plan to convert, in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement Friday night, the BRP Ang Pangulo (ACS 25) as a floating COVID-19 quarantine facility.
In a statement, the Navy said ACS25 commanding officer Commander Marissa Arlene Andres-Martinez was already coordinating with the local AFP units and government hospitals in Davao to support the medical equipment and other essential requirements needed for this floating quarantine facility.
According to the Navy, the initial plan was to ensure that the ship, deployed in Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao, was prepared to accommodate persons that are now under monitoring and investigation (PUI/PUM) due to COVID-19.
Frontliners in cargo warehouses
The Customs collection district of Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Sunday gave assurances its frontliners would continue working to release medical supplies needed by the government to combat the coronavirus disease.
“With the seeming threat of Covid-19, there are still frontliners quietly working in our air cargo warehouses and passenger terminals almost 24/7 ensuring all Personal Protective Equipment, test kits, ventilators, face masks and other medical supplies are released in the most expeditious manner,” the Bureau of Customs -NAIA said in a statement.
The bureau, as a whole, has released 4,669 shipments of PPEs, 3,430 of which were released in the NAIA while denying earlier reports insinuating it delayed release of the shipments.
Gov’t facilities for PUMs, PUIs
Five government facilities in Taguig City in Metro Manila will be used to house persons under investigation and monitoring, and those infected with coronavirus.
The city will also be using government-owned buildings, centers and other state facilities to provide additional beds for COVID-19-related cases and accommodation for some frontline workers.
“With this step, we express our resolve to provide better support for those who need medical attention and also for our hardworking frontline workers,” said Mayor Lino Edgardo Cayetano.
The Department of Labor and Employment on Sunday said close to 200,000 workers had received cash assistance from the government’s assistance programs to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The DOLE said about P622 million in assistance funds had been disbursed to beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program and the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers-Barangay ko, Bahay Ko program.
As of April 4, some 102,895 formal sector workers had received the P5,000 cash assistance under CAMP while close to 80,000 workers in the informal sector benefited from TUPAD BKBK program.
Port of Davao
The Port of Davao has donated medical equipment to Southern Philippines Medical Center, the central care unit in the region, to boost its patient-care capacity and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Port officials led by Collector Erastus Sandino Austria donated eight 40-foot container vans delivered in three batches: three vans on March 28, another three on the 29th and the remaining vans on the following day containing gurneys, wheelchairs, bed-side and operating tables, dialysis chairs, medical trolleys and crutches, pharmaceutical refrigerators and sterilizers.
SPMC medical chief Dr. Leopoldo Vega received the donations on March 30, expressing his gratitude as these will add-up to their current medical facilities for their frontline workers and patients.
Manila officials donate
Manila government elected officials plan to donate their entire salaries for April to a hospital in the city, Mayor Francisco “Isko” Domagoso has said.
According to the Manila Public Information Office, a combined P4.7 million of their salaries will be turned over to the Philippine General Hospital.
In a post on Twitter, Domagoso said that he, along with Vice Mayor Maria Sheilah Lacuna-Pangan, Majority Floor Leader Joel Chua, and all the city councilors, would donate their salaries to PGH.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.