By Franco Regala
SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Central Luzon said,Tuesday, health authorities have begun utilizing six evacuation centers it built in Talavera town, Nueva Ecija as isolation facilities to deal with the anticipated surge of suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
At the same time, DPWH regional director Roseller Tolentino said they were also ready to extend assistance in the conversion of Ciudad de Victoria in Bocaue, Bulacan as a mega quarantine facility for those afflicted with the dreaded virus.
Tolentino said that the evacuation centers in Talavera town in Nueva Ecija and Dingalan in Aurora were currently being utilized as isolation facilities for the health monitoring and treatment of persons under monitoring (PUMs) and persons under investigation (PUIs) due to COVID-19.
“With the instruction of Secretary Mark Villar, we have coordinated with the Department of Health (DoH) as well as concerned local government units for the operation of converted DPWH-built evacuation centers as temporary medical facilities for PUMs, PUIs and even positive COVID-19 cases,” Tolentino said.
He said the facility in Nueva Ecija and Aurora can accommodate 17 to 50 patients, respectively.
The other four evacuation centers are also available and ready for use. These are located in the municipalities of Mexico and Lubao in Pampanga and municipalities of Castillejos and Botolan in Zambales.
Ciudad de Victoria which houses the Philippine Arena, the largest multi-purpose indoor arena with a floor area of 99, 000 square meters, is expected to be modified soonest for coronavirus patients, according to Tolentino.
“We are eager to help build the mega quarantine facility at the soonest time possible for the benefit of persons who may have been afflicted with coronavirus disease,” he said.
The establishment, construction and operation of temporary medical facilities are among the major tasks assigned by President Duterte to DPWH pursuant to Republic Act 11469 otherwise known as Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.