BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – A former city dad here has joined the discussion on social media, specifically on the issue of why a P33 million regional evacuation center turned over recently by Cong. Greg Gasataya to the local government has not been used as a quarantine facility for returning Overseas Filipino Workers.
Lyndon Caña, a former councilor who ran and won as an independent candidate, posted on his Facebook account yesterday:
“Can not this new center be used for pui’s, pum’s and “returnees” to Bacolod who need to be placed on mandatory quarantine? Can media please visit this facility and show it to the people, how a P33.7M facility looks like?”
This status message, which we have quoted in full, accompanied the news article of the Philippine News Agency that Caña also posted on his wall.
The article, written by Nanette Guadalquiver and headlined “Bacolod City unveils P33.7-M regional evacuation center” was a report about the turn over by regional officials of the facility to local officials including Gasataya, Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran.
It said Regional Director Jose Roberto Nuñez of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-6 led the turnover with Regional Director Leah Delfinado of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
The report said the evacuation center stands on a 3,000-square meter property in the Progreso Village Relocation Site owned by the city government.
It added the center “includes an office and infirmary building, laundry/drying area, toilet and bath for both male and female, pump room, generator room, and materials recovery facility. Other facilities include a cistern tank and a drainage system.”
Gasataya, sought for comment on the issue, said the building had already been turned over to the local government.
“It is up to the local government to decide what to do with it according to the purpose for which it was built,” he told DNX.
Councilor Renecito Novero, chair of the Quarantine Centers Action Team, on the other hand, said the center was not “suitable” to be turned into a quarantine facility.
He pointed out that among the requirements for a facility include separate rooms for patients, separate bathrooms and comfort rooms and a perimeter fence.
City physician Maria Carmela Gensoli, for her part, said Department of Health protocols require quarantine facilities to have separate rooms for each patient.
In the case of the regional evacuation center, the receiving hall can be converted by constructing cubicles that can serve as separate rooms for patients.
However, she pointed out there is no perimeter fence around the facility which would make it difficult to secure the patients and the building itself.
Aside from the two requirements, the DOH protocol also stipulates a separate bath and comfort room to prevent infection.
In the case of the REC, there are only common bath and comfort rooms that cannot be divided into individual ones.