Iligan City (16 September 2020) – This city became the recipient today of one of the largest COVID-19 Mega Quarantine isolation facilities built by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the country.

The sprawling, 120-bed facility located at the National Steel Corporation (NSC) Industrial Complex in this city was turned over on Wednesday by DPWH and National Task Force Against COVID-19 officials to the city government of Iligan.

DPWH Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain, who represented Isolation Czar and Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, said that to discourage home quarantine, the agency is speeding up the construction of 700 health care facilities nationwide, 300 of which have already been completed as of date.

“Since there is a strong clamor to avoid quarantines at home, dapat ilabas na natin (sila) at ilagay sa isolation facilities. We are still giving assistance to LGUs like Iligan City in case there are added locations na pwede pang gawan din ng isolation facility,” Sadain said.

NTF COVID-19 Chief Implementer Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. said the quarantine facility will provide Iligan City’s health care capacity a much-needed boost after the area experienced a spike in coronavirus cases.

“Kasabay po ng pagpapalakas ng ating testing at contact tracing dito sa siyudad, mahalaga din po na may pagdadalhan tayo ng mga pasyente na magpopositibo,” Galvez said.

The Mega Quarantine facility here has free Wi-Fi, CCTV, hospital beds, tables, and complete comfort room facilities.

The facility will help lessen the local transmission of the virus in the city, Galvez said.

“Quarantine facilities are good to isolate all positive cases and prevent transmission and adhere to the NTF’s no home quarantine for tested positive mild and asymptomatic individuals,” he said.

Galvez has earlier cited the gains of isolating of 24,538 COVID-19 patients under the government’s OPLAN KALINGA Program which has been instrumental in bringing down the number of active cases across the country.

“Kung hindi po natin na-isolate at natuloy sa home quarantine ‘yong 24,538 patients na ito, magkakaruon tayo ng exponential growth on our active cases — three or five times higher. So kung hindi natin natanggal dito sa NCR (National Capital Region), Region 3, at Region 4A, hindi bababa ‘yong active cases natin,” Galvez said.

“Sa buong NCR, 35% na ang decline ng cases. Meaning, no’ng nag-simula po tayo ng OPLAN KALINGA napaka-bilis po ng naging pagbabago,” he added.

Under the OPLAN KALINGA Program, the government helps facilitate the transfer of COVID-19 positive patients from their homes to government designated isolation facilities nationwide.

Galvez has been cautioning the public against doing home quarantine for coronavirus patients, as he explained that this practice has led to a spike in local transmissions.

This is the reason, he said, why the government’s COVID-19 response efforts are now focused on scaling up the country’s isolation facilities.

Iligan Mayor Celso G. Regencia accepted the health care facility on behalf of the city government, who vowed to continue working with the national government to contain the spread of the virus in the area.

“We are very thankful for this and we will work and work and will not be ashamed to approach your respective offices for assistance. At palagi namin i-remind ang mga tao na ang COVID ay wala namang mga paa, it is the person who is carrying this (virus) so i-avoid talaga ang magtumpok-tumupukan, i-maintain ang physical distancing, wear face mask and face shield, and adhere to all other minimum health protocols,” Regencia said.

Iligan City has been placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine until the end of September 2020.


More COVID-19 dedicated beds under Bayanihan 2

Sadain said that with the signing of the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act or Bayanihan 2, the DPWH will be able to build more quarantine facilities in line with the Department of Health’s efforts to scale up the nation’s isolation capacity.

“Under Bayanihan 2, just like in Bayanihan 1, we were able to jumpstart [the] construction of many Quarantine Isolation Facilities noong unang phase of Bayanihan Act,” he said.

According to Sadain, Bayanihan 2 aims to sustain the gains achieved in fighting the pandemic by boosting the nation’s testing, contact tracing, isolation and treatment capability.

“The National government wants to see na walang maiiwan, sabay sabay po nating inaayos lahat,” Sadain said.

The DPWH, he said, is also adding more ICU beds in government hospitals and other health facilities for moderate, severe, and critical COVID-19 patients.

The agency is also constructing the very first off-site dialysis center inside the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), Sadain added.

Meanwhile, Galvez commended the DPWH for doing a great job in constructing and repurposing government and private facilities since the onset of the pandemic, which has been crucial in containing the spread of COVID-19.

“Ang pagpapatayo po ng mga quarantine facilities para sa mga mild and asymptomatic patients, at ng mga dormitories para sa ating mga medical frontliners ay napakalaking tulong upang tuloy-tuloy na nating mapababa ang mga kaso ng COVID-19 dito sa Iligan,” he said.

“At sa pagpapatupad po ng Bayanihan 2, asahan po ninyo na mas mapapaigting pa natin ang ating laban kontra COVID-19,” Galvez added.

During the event, the chief implementer also turned over 2,000 PPEs and 2,000 N95 masks to the city government.

Galvez said the government will also provide the city with high flow nasal cannulas and ventilators, as he pledged to assist in fast tracking the accreditation of Iligan’s first  COVID-19 testing laboratory.

Also present during  the event were officials of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Department of Health (DOH) national and regional offices, representatives from the Iligan City government and DPWH Regional Office X.###