MANILA - The Department of Tourism is backing the construction of temporary hospitals and other medical facilities on tourism sites to aid the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The DOT is gratified and honored to be able to use its parks and public spaces in support of the national pandemic response," Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Tuesday during the groundbreaking of a mega field hospital at the Burnham Green in Rizal Park.
The temporary hospital can accommodate at least 500 patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms.
The tourism chief also thanked Manila Mayor Isko Moreno for granting the DOT’s request to make the facilities available to all Filipinos.
The National Parks Development Committee, an attached agency to the DOT, also approved the proposal to use Quirino Grandstand as the site of a temporary drive-thru vaccination center. It can cater up to 450 people daily for the country's inoculation program, she said.
"The City of Manila and the NPDC have taken the first step and we hope to see this replicated by other local government units in other parts of the country,” added Puyat.
A surge in COVID-19 infections is straining the health-care system in Metro Manila, an urban sprawl of 16 cities that is home to at least 13 million people.
Government data showed that intensive care units in the Manila area were at 84 percent capacity, while 70 percent of COVID-19 ward beds and 63 percent of isolation beds were full as of April 19.
The Philippines is facing one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Asia, with infections reaching to over 950,000. So far, more than 16,000 people died from the disease.