Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat announced today that a temporary mobile hospital and a drive-thru vaccination site will soon rise at the Rizal Park in Manila.
In a meeting held yesterday, the Board of Directors of the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), an attached agency of the Department of Tourism, unanimously approved the proposal of Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso to construct a temporary mobile hospital at the Burnham Green of Rizal Park.
In a letter dated 12 April, Mayor Domagoso formalized his request to NPDC Executive Director Cecille Lorenzana Romero to construct a temporary mobile hospital in Rizal Park "in anticipation of a possible surge of COVID-19 cases." The city mayor committed to design, construct, maintain, and manage the hospital "up to its logical conclusion,” at no cost to the national government. Domagoso also promised to restore the Burnham Green area where the hospital will be constructed, back to its original condition.
In the same meeting, the board also approved the construction of a temporary drive-thru vaccination site at the Independence Road (Parade Grounds) of the Quirino Grandstand, also under the management of the NPDC. The temporary drive-thru vaccination site will be located beside the drive-thru RT-PCR testing facility managed by the City of Manila together with NPDC.
The drive-thru testing, launched last 20 July 2020, provided rapid-serology tests for up to 700 people daily, five days a week. It was then converted into RT-PCR testing last 18 January 2021. Since its launch, the drive-thru testing facility has accommodated 100 persons daily for their COVID tests.
"Through the temporary mobile hospital that will be constructed in Rizal Park, and the drive thru vaccination site at the Quirino Grandstand, the DOT has repurposed its tourism sites to support the current efforts to protect the public's health and safety during this crisis. These facilities will be open to all, not just the residents of Manila," said the tourism chief who also sits as the chairman of the NPDC.
Puyat said that the mobile hospital will be open to everyone and will cater to patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms. Meanwhile, the temporary drive-thru vaccination site to be built at the Parade Grounds of Quirino Grandstand is expected to accommodate 350 to 400 individuals for vaccination per day.
Rizal Park, Luneta is one of the largest urban open parks in the National Capital Region and is also a major tourist destination. As such, it has served as a venue in assisting the public by converting its areas into evacuation sites, processing sites for Locally Stranded Individuals (LSI), barracks for the military in times of war and even a military hospital during the Spanish colonial era.
Just recently, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has also approved DOT's proposal to construct a drive-thru vaccination site at Nayong Pilipino in Paranaque City. It will have an estimated capacity to vaccinate 12,000 individuals daily.