BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA
The Department of Public Works and Highways is ramping up the construction of healthcare facilities in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City amid the rising cases of coronavirus disease.
Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, the chief isolation czar of the National Inter-Agency Task Force, in a statement, said these projects will be overseen by the Task Force to Facilitate Augmentation of National and Local Health Facilities, headed by DPWH Undersecretary Emil Sadain, and assisted by DPWH Regional 6 director Leah Delfinado.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Mayor Evelio Leonardia signed a memorandum of agreement for the construction of the healthcare facilities with Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19, and Sadain last week.
In Negros Occidental, the healthcare facilities will be located in Valladolid town and the cities of San Carlos, Kabankalan, Silay, Cadiz, La Carlota, and Escalante.
Expected to be completed by end of September or early October are the quarantine facilities at the Regional Evacuation Center in Barangay Rizal, San Carlos City with 45 beds, and offsite dormitories at Lorenzo Zayco District Hospital in Kabankalan City with 32 beds, Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City with 32 beds, Cadiz District Hospital with 32 beds, and Don Salvador Benedicto District Hospital in La Carlota City with 32 beds.
Other projects soon to commence are the 16-bed capacity isolation facility in Kabankalan and dormitories for medical workers of Valladolid and Escalante, each with 32 beds.
“We have to ramp up construction of quarantine facilities for Covid patients all over Negros Occidental and other provinces of Western Visayas in order to eliminate, if not mitigate, the spike of cases, and speed up the completion of offsite dormitories in hospital compound for necessary temporary shelters of medical frontline workers that will also lessen the risk of exposing family members,” Sadain said.
A total of 34 healthcare facilities are being constructed by the DPWH, with 1,079-bed capacities, in the six provinces of Western Visayas.
For Bacolod City, the assistance package will cost an estimated P42.5 million for the 109-bed Covid-19 facilities, a press release from the city government said.
Leonardia said, “We are deeply grateful to Secretary Villar for providing Bacolod with these facilities for free. This will save us a lot of local funds that we can use for other Covid-response expenditures.”
The first 32 container van-type isolation rooms are now being built at what used to be the plant nursery of the City Agriculture Office in Brgy. Alijis. The facility, including equipment, will cost P25 million, and is slated for completion by September 30, the press release said.
The second facility, worth P13.5 million, will provide 32 beds for dormitory use of healthcare workers of the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital.
For the third facility, the DPWH will re-purpose the Regional Evacuation Center in Brgy. Vista Alegre into another isolation facility with 45 cubicles for asymptomatic and mild Covid-positive cases, furnished with beds and electric fans.
This is estimated to cost P4 million.*