Press Release | 3 April 2021

With the goal of augmenting hospital capacities following the increased occupancy rates in NCR hospitals, the Department of Health (DOH), the World Health Organization (WHO), and UNICEF are fast tracking the delivery and set up of modular tents in hospitals across Metro Manila.

As of writing, eight (8) NCR hospitals have requested the setting up of modular tents, namely: Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRRMMC) at the Quezon Institute (QI), Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium (Tala), Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center, Tondo Medical Center, National Center for Mental Health, Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP), National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and San Lazaro Hospital.

The requested tents of JRRMC for QI and the request of San Lazaro Hospital are scheduled for delivery today. Additionally, the WHO has committed to provide four (4) tents to be used as LGU-based triage areas. The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is now coordinating with concerned LGUs for the allocation and setup of the said tents.

To further manage healthcare utilization in NCR, the DOH, with the assistance of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), has facilitated the creation of extensions for level 3 hospitals which include the 44-bed modular hospital at Tala which begun its operations last week, 44-bed modular hospital at LCP which started operating last January, and the 110-bed capacity off-site modular extension of JRRMC at QI expected to open on April 8, among others.

Despite the government’s efforts to expand hospital capacities, the public is called on to first coordinate with their Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs) before going to hospitals upon symptom presentation so they may be assessed and referred to the appropriate facility for the appropriate level of care. The public is also called on to utilize the teleconsultation services of their respective Local Government Units (LGUs) or use the FREE teleconsultation services of DOH through its partners for non-urgent medical needs to avoid overcrowding in hospitals and ensure that all critical patient needs are attended to.

Meanwhile, the DOH, through Treatment Czar USec. Leopoldo Vega, is also intensifying its efforts to augment HCWs in NCR. As of writing, 42 initial volunteer HCWs from other regions with low COVID-19 cases are scheduled to be deployed in select NCR DOH Hospitals within the week, while more volunteers from Visayas and Mindanao are expected to be deployed over the next weeks. Furthermore, AFP and PNP Medical Reserve Forces have been tapped to man reactivated Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities where mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases are transferred.

Moreover, with the goal of providing additional support for infected healthcare workers (HCWs), the DOH, together with Isolation Czar Sec. Mark Villar and the DPWH, is in the process of finalizing negotiations with hotels to cater to HCWs and hospital employees in need of quarantine and isolation facilities, with three hotels expected to be utilized within the week.

Personal Protective Equipment for HCWs are also continuously being distributed across the country, and vaccination of HCWs is being expedited to protect medical frontliners. As of April 1, 760,938 HCWs have been vaccinated with their first dose while 10,007 have received their second dose.

Lastly, the DOH empathizes with each and everyone of our medical frontliners and gives utmost importance to the welfare of our HCWs and hospital employees. The Department is committed to providing all the needed support to protect those who protect us—whether through PPEs, vaccines, and benefits, among others. The DOH is continuing its effort to ensure that the processes of releasing salaries and benefits including Active Hazard Duty Pay (AHDP) and Special Risk Allowance (SRA) are expedited. As of March 31, the DOH has allotted a total of Php 664.84M for the AHDP and SRA of HCWs in 16 DOH-retained hospitals in Metro Manila, and a total of Php 876.51M for their meals, accomodation, transportation, and life insurance.