Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar announced that DPWH COVID-19 response is underway in Negros Occidental with the construction of various healthcare facilities in Bacolod City and other areas of the province.
Secretary Villar said that his formed Task Force to Facilitate Augmentation of National and Local Health Facilities with Regional Office 6 is ramping up construction activities of healthcare facilities to support urgent needs created by the recent spike of local transmissions of COVID-19 in Bacolod City.
Under instructions of Secretary Villar, Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain as head of DPWH Task Force to Facilitate Augmentation of National and Local Health Facilities joined on September 9 in Bacolod City the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) officials headed by Secretary and chief implementer of the government’s COVID-19 response Carlito Galvez Jr., Baguio City Mayor and chief tracing czar Benjamin Magalong, and Health Undersecretary and chief treatment czar Leopoldo Vega, in conducting situational assessment and help local officials of Bacolod City and Negros Occidental map out coordinated operations to defeat COVID-19.
The IATF handles the policies on the country’s response to the pandemic with DPWH Secretary Villar as the appointed isolation czar.
Undersecretary Sadain provided precise report on isolation interventions with the construction of 109-bed capacity health facilities in Bacolod City and 253-bed capacity in other parts of Negros Occidental during the meeting with Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia and along with representatives from the business and medical sectors.
Secretary Galvez and Undersecretary Sadain has earlier signed a memorandum of agreeement with Mayor Evelio Leonardia for the facility administration by the city government once the on-going two (2) sets of isolation facility with total capacity of 32 beds at Brgy. Alijis, Bacolod City are completed by DPWH Region 6 headed by Director Leah Delfinado towards end of September to early October.
Undersecretary Sadain said that works are also on-going for the September 30 to early October completion of an off-site dormitory with 32 bed capacity at Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital, Bacolod City for the hospital workers’ place to stay after getting exhausted from rendering long health services.
We have to ramp up construction of quarantine/isolation facilities for covid patients all over Negros Occidental and other provinces of Western Visayas inorder to eliminate, if not mitigate, the spike of COVID cases, and at the same time speed up the completion of offsite dormitories inside hospitals compound for necessary temporary shelters of medical frontline workers that will also lessen risk of exposing family members, added Undersecretary Sadain.
Additionally, 45 cubicles will be put up in the proposed repurposing into quarantine facility for asymptomatic COVID 19 patients of the existing Regional Evacuation Center at Brgy. Vista Alegre, Bacolod City.
Meanwhile, Secretary Galvez, Undersecretary Sadain and Governor Lacson also signed the MOA for the construction of other healthcare facilities in eight (8) sites located in the municipality of Valladolid and in the cities of San Carlos, Kabankalan, Silay, Cadiz, La Carlota, Escalante City.
On-going and target to be completed by September 30 to early October are the quarantine facility at the Regional Evacuation Center in Brgy. Rizal, San Carlos City with 45 beds and offsite dormitories in the following hospitals: Lorenzo Zayco District Hospital, Kabankalan City, 32 beds; Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital, Silay City, 32 beds; Cadiz District Hospital, Cadiz City, 32 beds; Don Salvador Benedicto District Hospital, La Carlota City, 32 beds.
Other proposed projects which will soon commence work are the 16-bed capacity isolation facility in Kabankalan City and dormitories for medical workers of Valladolid and Escalante City, each with 32 beds.
For the six (6) provinces of Region 6, there are a total of 34 healthcare facilities being constructed by DPWH which will cover 1,079 bed capacities.