By Mike Crismundo
BUTUAN CITY – The regional office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) here announced on Wednesday that there are 10 completed evacuation centers ready for use as health facilities for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.
“Yes, these completed evacuation centers constructed by the DPWH which are already managed by the respective local government units can also be utilized as health facilities augmentation for possible COVID-19 patients,” said DPWH Director Pol Delos Santos, in an exclusive interview with The Manila Bulletin on Wednesday.
He said these completed 10 evacuation centers are located in strategic areas in the five provinces and six cities in Northeastern Mindanao or Caraga region.
In his report to DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar, Delos Santos said most of these evacuation centers were completed in 2018 and in 2019. They are located in Barangay Poblacion, in La Paz town, Barangay Del Monte, Talacogon town, and Barangay Poblacion, Prosperidad town, all in Agusan del Sur province; Barangay Luna, Surigao City, Surigao del Norte; Baranay Wasian, Tandag City and Barangay Sta. Cruz, Bislig City, both in Surigao del Sur; Barangay San Isidro, Las Nieves town and Barangay Rizal, Buenavista town, both in Agusan del Norte province.
The Regional Evacuation Center (REC) is strategically located at Kilometer 3, Barangay Baan, in this region’s capital city of Butuan.
Each two-storey evacuation center had a total budget allocation of P36 million, Delos Santos said.
Butuan City’s REC is now currently being used by the Butuan Medical Center as PUI facility and quarantine area for COVID-19 patients.
This Butuan City REC has four nurses, a medical technician, hospital attendant, surveillance officer, food server, ambulance driver, ambulance nurse, and a utility personnel.
The external team is composed of on-call doctors, three police personnel, two supplies and food staff, driver, OIC-Chief Nurse, Operations Unit head, and an Administrative Officer.
In full support for healthcare workers, the DPWH also deployed service vehicles in two separate sections; Surigao-Agusan Road Section and Butuan City-Iligan City-Cagayan de Oro Road Section, to pick-up healthcare workers from checkpoints and transport them to their points of destination and in going home. This is daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., to ensure that healthcare workers won’t have any problems with their daily transportation, Delos Santos said.