The city of Bacolod through Mayor Evelio Leonardia officially received the P25-million Quarantine and Isolation Facility that was turned over by the Department of Public Works and Highways to the city, yesterday.
Secretary Vivencio “Vince” Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, who is also Malacañang’s “chief testing czar,” led the inauguration, together with Cong. Greg Gasataya and Gov. Eugenio Lacson.
“We are deeply grateful to DPWH for giving us these facilities for free,” Leonardia said at the blessing and inauguration of the 32-room facility constructed at what used to be the plant nursery of the City Agriculture Office in Barangay Alijis. He said the City had bought the property in 1997 when he was also the mayor.
The mayor said the project will save the city a lot of local funds that it can use for other COVID-response expenditures. The City can also accommodate in these facilities more asymptomatic or mild COVID positive cases that come up as it intensifies its contact tracing efforts, and free up the hospitals so it can take care of the moderate and critical cases.
Leonardia especially thanked Secretary Mark Villar, who is also Malacañang’s “chief isolation czar,” DPWH Undersecretary Emil Sadain, and DPWH regional director Engr. Leah Delfinado for the project. The project was supervised by the DPWH Task Force to Facilitate Augmentation of National and Local Health Facilities, headed by Sadain, and assisted by Delfinado.
For his part, Dizon said, “We cannot be complacent because COVID is still here. What happened in August in Negros [Occidental] and Bacolod, what happened in June in Cebu, can happen again,” he added.
He said the construction of healthcare facilities is part of the government’s readiness for COVID, but at the same time, he hopes that the situation will improve in the coming months.
“But if it happens again, we will be ready and we will be more ready than in August… It can be done, but we just have to be ready and always work together,” he added.
The DPWH constructed the facility to support Bacolod’s need for additional healthcare facilities for asymptomatic and mild COVID cases. It is part of the assistance package for COVID facilities in Bacolod that is estimated to cost the DPWH around P42.5 million.
Construction of the 32-room facility costing a total of P25 million began on August 14, 2020 and was finished on October 15, 2020.
Each of the 32 rooms has a comfort room, an air-conditioning unit, and hot and cold shower. For each set of 16 rooms, there is a Nurses’ Station, Male and Female Medical Staff Quarters with comfort room, and Utility Room. The facility has a 100 KVA standby generator, Sanitation Area, Water Tanks, and ramp with railings.
Based on their memorandum of agreement, the City will be in-charge of the water, electricity and the maintenance of the facility.
The quarantine and isolation facility in Barangay Alijis was one of the three healthcare facilities in Negros Occidental that Dizon and the DPWH have inaugurated today.
The other two facilities are the Off-site Dormitory of the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City, and the Off-site Dormitory of the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital in Bacolod City.
Meanwhile, Leonardia said he has also written Secretary Villar asking for another 32 quarantine/isolation rooms with similar configurations to be constructed at the same location in Brgy. Alijis because there is still space available for it there.