DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 24 September) – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Davao Region will put up a P100-million 400-bed capacity “container city” as additional holding facilities for arriving air passengers who will be swabbed for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Davao International Airport.
Dean Ortiz, DPWH-Davao Region public affairs and information officer said in a phone interview on Thursday that a total of 200 prefabricated container vans would be placed in a 1.92-hectare lot, located beside the “tent city” at the existing airport along C.P. Garcia Highway.
He said the additional holding facilities—at two beds per container van —will be completed by December this year.
“The container vans are already on the way from the capital. We are currently preparing for the construction, and we can start as soon as the containers are here,” he said.
He said the agency earlier allotted P120 million for the conversion of the airport’s old terminal to a 100-bed holding area, and the construction of the 1.74-hectare 400-bed capacity “tent city,” comprising 20 tents, with 10 rooms at two beds each.
The old terminal used to house the office of the Mindanao Development Authority since 2016, until it vacated the building last July.
The construction of the “tent city” was completed last month, Ortiz said.
The local government of Davao targets to increase the capacity of the holding areas in the airport to 1,000 beds as it requires to swab passengers with no negative COVID-19 result of a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test.
The negative result must be issued within 72 hours before their scheduled departure from the airport of origin.
Those who are cleared of COVID-19 may proceed home for a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Mayor Sara Duterte earlier said the local government needs to increase the capacity of its holding facilities to enable it to open more commercial flights to and from the city.
Based on the data released by the City Tourism Office, arrivals in the city through air travel from March to August this year only reached 128,542, a decrease of 90 percent from 1,349,730 reported for the same period last year. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)