Zambo’s white elephant converted into mega isolation facility

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 13 July) – What used to be a white elephant for more than three decades was converted into a mega quarantine isolation facility for COVID-19 suspect cases. This, as the City received from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) what used to be the Zamboanga Convention Center in Pasonanca.

The Pasonanca Convention Center Quarantine Facility. Photo courtesy of GIANA ANDRION

DPWH Undersecretary Emil Sadain handed on Monday to District 1 Councilor Josephine Pareja the symbolic key of the building that has been newly renovated, refurbished and refurnished to suit the standards of the Department of Health for a quarantine facility.

“The DPWH construction of quarantine facilities using available spaces like this convention center will give our hospitals more capacity to handle severe and critical patients,” Sadain said, adding that such would make up for the shortage of hospital beds due to the unpredictable rising number of active COVID-19 cases.

Pareja and Dr. Elmeir Jade Apolinario, Zamboangs City Inter-Agency Task Force COVID-19 chief implementer, represented Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco who had a prior engagement.

“We heal as one,” was the mayor’s thrust in the fight against the virus.

“This is one of the manifestations of the whole of government approach, the national and local governments helping each other in the campaign against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Pareja, who spoke on behalf of the mayor.

The Pasonanca Convention Center before renovation. It was a white elephant for years. Photo courtesy of Google Street View

As the cases were soaring, DPWH Regional Director Cayamombao Dia discussed with his counterpart in the DOH, Regional Director Joshua Brillantes, and city officials early this year on the possible conversion of the building, unused for years, into a mega quarantine facility.

It turned over Monday morning, nearly four months after it was inaugurated.

The DPWH website shows the conversion contract for the said facility was granted to Frey-Fil Corporation with a contract price of P20.5 million.

The two-story Pasonanca Convention Center Quarantine Facility has a total of 188 beds.

Each floor has an airconditioned hallway that could accommodate at least 80 patients at the same time. The facility has generator sets.

Every cubicle is equipped with an electric fan, chair and a bed. The floors were redesigned, giving a colorful look, and beds are all ready for occupancy.

The city’s mega quarantine facility stands across the Scout Antonio Limbaga Memorial Training Center and the popular Pasonanca Tree House, and is adjacent to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

Dr. Dulce Miravite, City Health Officer, and other DOH officials from the region toured the facility’s interiors. They also reported during the media virtual presser the gradual decline of active COVID-19 cases to 240 at the end of the day. (Frencie L. Carreon / MindaNews)