Mayor Evelio Leonardia expressed his gratitude to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the new P25-million quarantine and isolation facility that was turned over by the agency to Bacolod City last Friday.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Also joining the inauguration were Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, Bacolod City Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Councilor Renecito Novero, City Administrator Em Ang, Provincial Consultant Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez, Delfinado, IATF-Visayas chief implementer Mel Feliciano, barangay captain Deogracias dela Vega of Alijis, and City Health Office officer-in-charge Dr. Edwin Miraflor.
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.
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 Friday.
The other two facilities were 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./WDJ