By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is opening up some of its centers as possible “transitory facilities” for Filipinos returning from Wuhan, China who have to undergo quarantine.
DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista has offered to the Inter-Agency Task Force, headed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque, that it can tap the agency’s centers as “transitory” shelter house for Filipino workers who will be repatriated from Hubei province.
This was confirmed by DSWD spokesperson Arlene Dumlao, after DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje disclosed on Wednesday, February 6, during the House Committee on Metro Manila Development hearing on government’s efforts to fight the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus that the DSWD is opening up its centers as quarantine areas.
“Yes, the Secretary made an offer to use some of the agency’s centers provided that the identified facilities pass the standards set by the DOH. Also, the identified and approved facilities will serve only as transitory facilities before the patient will be transferred to a proper medical treatment facility,” Dumlao said in a text message.
She said it will be the Field Offices of the agency that will identify the centers that will be used as transitory house.
“The centers identified by the FOs will be subjected to DOH inspection to ensure that these pass the standards set by the Department,” the DSWD official said.
“In identifying the centers, the Department will ensure that the possibility of infecting clients of the center is very nil. Further, DSWD personnel who will be involved in the quarantine will undergo necessary training,” Dumlao added.
Cabotaje recently told the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, chaired by Rep. Manuel Luis Lopez of the 1st district of Manila that 42 Filipinos who will be repatriated from Hubei will be brought to the Drug Rehabilitation Center in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.
Fort Magsaysay has been identified as a quarantine area, and can accommodate 10,000 individuals.
She said the Caballo Island in Manila Bay is also being eyed as quarantine area for Filipinos returning from Wuhan.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday assured the lawmakers that it is processing all the necessary permits and clearances for the immediate repatriation of 42 Filipinos in Hubei province who signified intention to be planed back home.
DFA Undersecretary Brigido Dulay assured the House Committee on Metro Manila Development that the DFA is exhausting all means to ensure the immediate repatriation of 42 Filipinos.
“The DFA is processing all now the permits and clearances for the repatriation of Filipinos in Hubei province. Right now, there are 42 Filipinos who have signified intent to join the repatriation,” he said.
He said they are getting clearances in different offices in China–one in Beijing, one in Shanghai that covers the Wuhan, and the other one in provincial government in Wuhan.
“We are working with different agencies in China,” Dulay assured the House panel, chaired by Rep. Manuel Luis Lopez of the first district of Manila.
Dulay clarified that the repatriation was only intended for Filipinos in Hubei province, which has been under the lockdown.
“We would like to clarify that the repatriation is meant for Filipinos in Hubei. Our nationals in Hubei are the ones that are restricted to travel,” he said.