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Workers of the Department of Public Works and Highways unload materials for the conversion of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Forum Halls into a temporary facility for Covid-19 patients on Thursday (April 2, 2020) / DPWH

DPWH begins works on PICC as health facility

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The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) began the conversion of the Forum Halls of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City into a health facility.

DPWH National Capital Region director Ador Canlas said the construction activities by the agency and private firms EEI Construction and the Villar Group have started with initial manpower of 300 personnel.

“The activities started this morning at the PICC tent. For the DPWH, we have 175 personnel while the EEI deployed 130 people but it would be increased to 250,” he said in a telephone interview.

Canlas added that they will be working 24/7 at three shifts as they want to finish the construction next week.

“We are looking to finish before Holy Thursday,” he said.

Canlas added that the actual work or major activities such as the construction of the cubicles are being conducted offsite or at the area of EEI in Taguig City, while works for the DPWH are being held in its field office in Quirino Grandstand and Central office.

He said the assembling of the materials and other minor works will be done in the halls where they will be building 294 cubicles.

“EEI works are being held in their bodega (warehouse) in Taguig while we (DPWH) work in our offices. Ang (The) assembling of the cubicles at minor works such as finishing etc. are done inside the tents,” Canlas added.

Aside from the cubicles, he said they will be constructing six nurse stations, smart houses to be used by medical staff, and tents as mess halls.

Meanwhile, 40 workers of EEI Construction are deployed in Rizal Memorial Coliseum handled by the Razon Group to expedite its ongoing conversion into a Covid-19 health facility for mild case asymptomatic patients.

Works are also ongoing at World Trade Center (WTC) handled by the Ayala Group with design-layout approved by Dan Lichauco of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital.

Meanwhile, DPWH Undersecretary Emil Sadain said daily monitoring of health conditions of the workers, including but not limited to temperature checks, health checklists, and exposure checklists, are among the construction protocols implemented in the three work sites.

Sharing of hand tools and power tools is discouraged and regular disinfection is observed at work areas while those workers who have pre-existing health conditions including persons above 60 years old will not be allowed for deployment so as not to compromise their immune systems.

Earlier, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said the completion of health facilities at PICC and WTC is within 10 days and about a week for Rizal Coliseum.

The Department of Health will manage the operation of completed health facilities with possible assistance from private health care providers.

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