Duterte urged to transform hotels into temporary hospitals

Published April 8, 2021, 2:22 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

A lawmaker is urging President Duterte to order the repurposing of hotels into temporary hospital facilities to accommodate mild COVID-19 cases as well as non-coronavirus patients.

Quezon City 4th District Representative Jesus “Bong” Suntay said hotels and other accommodation establishments that remain inoperative could be converted as alternative health facilities to decongest hospitals that are now overwhelmed by the surge in novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections.

In a resolution, Suntay said “the transfer of mild COVID patients in these alternative facilities is pivotal in decongesting hospitals, where almost 41 percent of patients admitted in Metro Manila are mildly ill or even asymptomatic.”

“These will consequently free up bed spaces, accommodating more severe cases to medical wards,” he added.

Suntay said the repurposing of the hotels and other accommodation facilities could also contribute in mitigating the effects of the pandemic to the industry.

The rates to be charged by the said to persons undergoing quarantine “may be regulated” by the Department of Tourism, he proposed.

The lawmaker noted that only accredited hotels and accommodating establishments are only allowed to operate to take in guests, or as quarantine facilities to accommodate suspected COVID-19 patients.

He also recalled that under the “Bayanihan to Heal as One” Act, or Bayanihan 1, the President was granted the authority to direct operation of privately owned hospitals and establishments to serve as temporary quarantine of medical facilities.

But the Bayanihan 1 already expired on June 24, 2020.

“With the ballooning number of COVID[-19] cases and the critical status of our hospitals and other health facilities, the inoperative hotels and other accommodation establishments must be maximized to host mild COVID patients and other non-COVID patients,” Suntay appealed.