Unclogging Manila’s hospitals

Published May 9, 2021, 12:05 PM

by Deedee Siytangco

Happy Mother’s Day to all the inays, nanay, mommies out there, those with their spouses, single moms, or orphaned mothers! There is no other station in life as fulfilling as being a mother. I enjoy my motherhood, thanks to my children and their father. I loved my mother who showed us how to be a mother!


Compassion is passion with a heart. —Anonymous

Manila’s charismatic action mayor, Isko “Yorme” Moreno Domagoso, banks on the city’s COVID-19 Field Hospital to unclog the city’s district hospitals and make space for additional ICU setups.

The COVID-19 Field Hospital, which is currently being constructed, is the mayor’s creative solution to overcrowding in the city’s public hospitals. He has been very busy since the Burnham Green broke ground on April 20 at Rizal Park. The P154-million, 4,402-square-meter facility will accommodate 336 mild to moderate COVID-19 cases.

NEW ROOMS Yorme inspecting bunkhouses to alleviate overcrowding in city hospitals

This one-story building will ultimately be Manila’s seventh district hospital. It is targeted to be done in 60 days. The main structures of the hospital are already up. It will have modern features and fixtures such as a CCTV room, a telecom system, convenience outlets, a fire alarm system, comfort rooms, air-conditioning, and a stable Internet connection.

The primary aim of the Manila COVID-19 Field Hospital is to unclog Manila’s six district hospitals—the Ospital ng Sampaloc, Sta. Ana Hospital, Ospital ng Maynila, Gat Andres Bonifacio Medical Center, Justice Jose Abad Santos Memorial Medical Hospital, and Ospital ng Tondo—by providing ample care for patients with mild and moderate COVID-19.

“The doctors we consulted told us that non-severe cases can be handled by any doctor,” explained Yorme. “But the severe cases, they need to be checked or treated by specialists. We need pulmonologists and infectious disease specialists.”

This dynamic young mayor also said that in case these mild or moderate COVID-19 cases suddenly escalate ang become severe, the patients would be given immediate care. “Nababalitaan natin na may mga namamatay sa triage pa lang, sa tent, o sa parking lot. Dito, may makikita agad kung kailangan na silang ilipat sa ICU. We are able to help increase their chance of surviving,” he said.

With the current setup in the district hospitals, the specialists have had to deal with all kinds of COVID-19 cases. This really puts unnecessary strain on them. “They should focus on severe cases,” the pointed out.

In any case, it’s not just a waiting game for the LGU. While the Manila COVID-19 Field Hospital is being built, Yorme says they have already set aside budget to purchase enough equipment to add 60 ICU-level setups in the district hospitals. Domagoso explained: “We cannot say we’re adding rooms in the ICU because that would involve more planning and building new rooms, [which] would disrupt hospital operations. Para mas mabilis, ang gagawin natin ay bibilhin natin ang lahat na kailangang equipment sa ICU. Tapos, ilalagay ito sa mga existing hospital rooms. So, madadagdagan ang ICU-like setups sa ating mga district hospitals.”

The plan, however, doesn’t stop there as the Manila COVID-19 Field Hospital would also require more doctors and nurses. Yorme says that the headcount for the personnel required to run the hospital is being finalized.

He emphasizes that the Manila COVID-19 Field Hospital will be available to everyone, whether they are residents of Manila or from elsewhere. “Nobody will be left behind,” he says. “The pandemic is a universal problem.”


Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila and its employees are to be commended for their sense of commitment to helping and working with the community. On April 28, the hotel handed over a donation cheque of Php100,000 to the Philippine Red Cross.

What is interesting for this “community pantry” efforts is that the amount was raised through the hotel employees’ virtual fund-raising initiatives. In addition,1,400 sets of linens were donated to aid isolation facilities.

COMMUNITY PANTRY Sofitel donates of Philippine National Red Cross. From left: Sofitel executives, director for events Cynthia Esteban, director of talent and culture Marivic Que, general manager Olivier Larcier, and Red Cross representatives, secretary general Elizabeth Zavala and director for fund generation Vanessa Lee Calixto.

Sofitel Manila GM Olivier Larcher, together with director of talent and culture Marivic Que and director of events Cynthia Esteban, handed over the donations to Philippine Red Cross secretary general Elizabeth Zavala, director for fund generation and business development Vanessa Lee Calixto, and chairman Richard Gordon, who joined virtually.

Cynthia Esteban, Pasay City Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano, and Sofitel General Manager Olivier Larcher.

Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila is proud to be of service to the community, most recently donating aid to the fire victims of Pasay City and its residents in evacuation facilities, as well as those in COVID-19 isolation. Late last year, Sofitel Manila extended help to victims of Typhoon Rolly in Albay.

The staff raised funds by donating some of their own well-loved knick knacks, clothes, and books, with a good amount for their “pantry.”