(Eagle News) – At least 87 overseas Filipino workers repatriated from Italy and Spain were the first to use the quarantine facilities of the Philippine Arena Complex in Ciudad Victoria in Bocaue, Bulacan which were turned over to the Philippine government today, Thursday, April 30.
There were 82 OFWs from Italy who arrived in the country on a chartered Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight Wednesday night, April 29. They included 71 OFWs from Milan and 11 from Rome, and were repatriated through the joint efforts of the Philippine embassy in Rome and the Philippine Consultate General in Milan.
The OFWs from Italy and other Filipino repatriates from Spain will be staying in The Garden Suites inside the Ciudad de Victoria grounds. The Philippine government said that OFWs had been screened so that only probable and suspect cases will be brought to the facility.
The Garden Suites will be the quarantine site also for the other OFWs.
Each unit has a bed, refrigerator, comfort room, and is fully airconditioned. It also has a sofa set and dining area. The other Garden Suites will also serve as the housing facilities for COVID-19 frontliners who will treat and manage the COVID-19 patients.
The OFWs were brought in by three buses Wednesday night, and will be undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
Aside from the Garden Suites, three “mega tents” beside the Philippine Arena are prepared and ready for COVID-19 patients.
The Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) allowed the use of the three mega tents near the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena Complex for the Philippine government’s ‘We Heal As One Center.” The mega tents are already complete with new hospital beds, curtains and dividers.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) thanked INC Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo for this offer.
Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr chief implementor of the government’s National Action Plan (NAP) against COVID-19, stressed that this offer by the INC meant a lot to the Philippine government. He noted that the INC also helped build the facilities needed to make the mega quarantine tents into a “We Heal as One Center” in accordance to the requirements of the Philippine government.
DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said that the three (3) big tents at the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s (INC) Philippine Arena Complex in Ciudad de Victoria, Bocaue, Bulacan were repurposed into 300-bed healthcare facilities through public-private sector partnership.
“Following the offer made by the INC to the government to utilize available facilities free of charge as quarantine site, DPWH immediately coordinated with other concerned government agencies and private groups for the setting up of mega quarantine center within 10 days,” a DPWH statement said.
The MVP Group of Companies is providing free access for medical workers and patients to the Philippine Arena Quarantine Center via the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX); free use of Wifi throughout the site via PLDT/SMART Communications; free connection to water supply from MAYNILAD Water Services; and free installation of power lines and connection to the MERALCO grid.
The DPWH Secretary said the Villar Group of Companies also provided essential equipment particularly hospital beds for patients including repatriated OFWs who will undergo mandatory 14-day facility-based quarantine against COVID-19.
“In this extraordinary time, I am in awe of the contributions of everyone in helping our nation to heal as one, Secretary Villar said,” he said.
DPWH Task Force on Augmentation of Local and National Health Facilities Head Undersecretary Emil Sadain said that poles, primary power lines, transformers and other accessories had been set up in the grounds to provide electricity to the tents.
“Yung opportunity na ibinigay ni Ka Eduardo, this opened up a gate of new beginning for living a new life for COVID patients,” Sadain said in an earlier statement.
There will also be a separate mega swabbing center to be set up at the nearby Philippine Sports Stdium inside the Ciudad de Victoria grounds. More tents will also be set up here.
Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) President Vince Dizon again thanked the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) for allowing the use of the Ciudad de Victoria grounds and its facilities to be used as quarantine and isolation sites for COVID-19 patients.
“Nagpapasalamat po muli tayo sa Iglesia Ni Cristo na pinagamit nila itong area na ito. At nagpapasalamat din po tayo dahil iyon pong mga Garden Suites na nandoon din sa Philippine Arena ay gagamitin din po ng mga OFWs natin na galing sa iba’t ibang panig ng mundo bilang quarantine site (We again thank the Iglesia Ni Cristo [Church Of Christ] that they allowed this area to be used. We also thank them for allowing the use of the Garden Suites also inside the Philippine Arena Complex for use by the OFWs coming from all over the world to be their quarantine site,” he said.
The INC has also provided housing facilities for frontline workers such as doctors, nurses and other staff who would be treating and managing the COVID-19 patients to be placed in quarantine at the Ciudad de Victoria’s “We Heal as One Center.”
Turn-over ceremonies for the Ciudad de Victoria mega quarantine sites considered as the biggest isolation and quarantine facility so far for COVID-19 cases in the country, happened this morning attended by representatives of the Philippine government among them Secretary Galvez Jr, DWOH Usec Sadain, and by representatives of the Maligaya Deverlopment Corporation (MDC) which manages the Ciudad de Victoria complex led by Atty. Glicerio P “GP” Santos IV.
Also present are Philippine Coast Guard Admiral Joel Garcia, Department of Health Asst. Secretary Leonita Gorgolon who observed the health facility readiness for effective disease control.
The inspection team with Bulacan Vice Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, Bulacan 1st District Representative Jose Antonio R. Sy-Alvarado, and DPWH Regional Office 3 Director Roseller Tolentino and Asst. Director Denise Maria Ayag made rounds at tent # 1 with 92 bed cubicles and tent # 2 and tent # 3, both with 104 bed cubicles.
The Philippine Coast Guard, the Department of Health (DOH), and the Bureau of Quarantine will help manage patients to be quarantined at the Ciudad de Victoria.
(Eagle News Service)