DOT welcomes use of tourist sites as temporary hospitals

DOT welcomes use of tourist sites as temporary hospitals

MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Tuesday expressed support for the construction of medical facilities in Rizal Park to help the country better respond against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The statement was made by Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat during the groundbreaking of Manila Mega Covid Field Hospital, a temporary facility that will soon rise at the Burnham Green of Rizal Park.

“The DOT is gratified and honored to be able to use its parks and public spaces in support of the national pandemic response,” she said.

During the event, Puyat asked the Manila City Hall officials to make the facilities available even to those residing outside Manila –a request approved by Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso.

The temporary hospital in Rizal Park was unanimously approved by the board of the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), an attached agency of the DOT. It can accommodate at least 500 patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms.

Also approved was the proposal to use Quirino Grandstand as the site of a temporary drive-through vaccination center, which can accommodate 350 to 450 persons per day.

“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,” Romulo-Puyat said.

Burnham Green is named after renowned American architect Daniel Burnham, the urban planner who designed Baguio as the country’s summer capital and the city of Chicago.

The tourist site is a large open space in front of the Quirino Grandstand, and is popular among park-goers as a venue for different events like picnics and sports activities.

It is also the site of the Narra tree planted by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and the bronze statue of San Lorenzo Luis given by Pope John Paul II in 1981.

Joining Puyat during the event were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, chairman of the National Task Force Against Covid-19; IATF chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr.; IATF deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon; Metro Manila Development Authority General Manager Jojo Garcia; NPDC Executive Director Cecille Lorenzana-Romero; Health Assistant Secretary Romeo Ong, and Domagoso. (PNA)

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