DOT backs use of tourism destinations as sites for temporary medical facilities

Published April 21, 2021, 11:57 AM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is backing the construction of temporary hospitals and other medical facilities at tourism sites as part of efforts to fight the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

(Photo from DOT)

“The DOT is gratified and honored to be able to use its parks and public spaces in support of the national pandemic response,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said on Tuesday, April 20.

Puyat made the remarks during the groundbreaking of the temporary Mega Field Hospital facility, which will be erected at the Burnham Green of Rizal Park in Manila City.

The Board of Directors of the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), an attached agency of the DOT, unanimously approved the proposal of Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso to build the temporary mobile hospital “in anticipation of a possible surge of COVID-19 cases.”

The tourism chief also thanked Domagoso for granting the department’s request to make the facility  available to everyone, since it can accommodate at least 500 patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms. 

The NPDC Board, chaired by the DOT secretary, also approved the proposal to establish a temporary drive-through vaccination center at the Quirino Grandstand where 350 to 450 persons can be served per day.   

“The City of Manila and the NPDC have taken the first step and we hope to see this replicated by other local government units in other parts of the country,” Puyat added.

Rizal Park–one of the largest urban open parks in the National Capital Region (NCR)–has been converting its areas into evacuation sites and processing sites for locally-stranded individuals since the start of the pandemic last year.

A drive-through vaccination site is also set to rise in Parañaque City after the government’s pandemic task force approved DOT’s proposal to construct one at Nayong Pilipino. It is expected to vaccinate 12,000 individuals daily.