Senator Sonny Angara is pushing for the conversion of COVID-19 quarantine and isolation facilities to evacuation centers for families affected by disasters and calamities.
Now that the spread of COVID-19 is under control and fewer people are contracting the virus, Angara suggested the conduct of an assessment on the need to maintain the quarantine and isolation facilities put up during the peak of the pandemic.
“We want to see the utilization rate of these facilities and I suspect that many of them are no longer being utilized now. We can put them to good use by converting them as evacuation centers for families affected by the typhoons that hit our country several times in a year,” said Angara, who is chairman of the Committee on Finance.
Dubbed as We Heal as One Centers, Ligtas COVID and Mega Ligtas COVID Centers, these quarantine and isolation facilities were either newly constructed or existing structures repurposed to cater to individuals who contracted the COVID-19 virus.
Apart from the fewer reported daily cases, Angara noted how there are now far less people getting seriously ill, primarily as a result of the vaccination of a significant portion of the population.
“These days when people are infected with COVID, they usually have mild or no symptoms at all. Sinisipon, umuubo o kaya nilalagnat na karaniwan ay nawawala makaraang ilang araw ng pag inom ng gamot o kaya ay pagpapahinga sa bahay. Hindi na kinakailangan na ma-ospital o ipasok sa mga quarantine facilities,” Angara said.
“Imbes na masayang ang mga pinatayo na isolation centers ay magandang magamit ang mga ito bilang evacuation centers tuwing may kalamidad lalo na sa mga lugar na hindi sapat ang imprastraktura para patuluyin ang mga nawalan ng mga tahanan,” the Senator added.
For those who require isolation and have no means to do so at home, several hotels continue to cater to these individuals.
Angara said the conversion of isolation centers will also help in freeing up public schools that are commonly used as evacuation centers.
Whenever the schools are converted into evacuation centers, classes end up being disrupted for significant periods of time.
“Instead of suspending classes indefinitely after a storm hits a locality, having these isolation facilities available for use by the displaced families, together with the multi-purpose courts or gymnasiums, will spare the schools and ensure the continuous education of our students,” Angara said.