Photo courtesy of Teodorico de Guia.

EL NIDO, Palawan – The four municipalities of the Calamianes group of islands in northern Palawan have set up 45 handwashing stations in strategic locations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

According to Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer (MDRRMO) Fernando Lopez, the project was a multi-stakeholder effort conceived in late March. The effort was put together by the Calamianes Resilience Network (CRN), which is composed of various stakeholders from the public and private sector in the island group.

“Noong magsimula ang quarantine sa March, nag-isip ang mga frontliners ng mga projects na maaaring maka-prevent sa spread ng COVID-19. Kasi nga naman, maraming mga proyekto dito, lalo na sa Coron, na huminto dahil sa quarantine,” said Lopez. “Ang proposal para sa mga handwashing stations ay isinumite noong March 31 sa Partners for Resilience, isang NGO (non-government organization) sa Netherlands. Na-approve naman ang project noong April 16″.

These 45 handwashing stations are currently distributed throughout the four municipalities in the island group, namely, Coron, Busuanga, Linapacan, and Culion. 15 of the stations are currently set up in Coron, and 10 stations each are deployed in Culion, Linapacan, and Busuanga. Linapacan, however, has not yet received its handwashing stations yet, but will be ferrying the units to the island municipalities on May 17.


Photo courtesy of Teodorico de Guia.

The units will be placed in areas prone to crowdings, such as ports, markets, land terminals, and the respective health units.

The handwashing stations are built with a steel frame, a plastic drum, and a stainless-steel lavatory. They each have their own wastewater containers built-in as well. According to Lopez, the units were made to last for ten years, and will still serve their purpose even after the quarantine.

“Talagang ginawang matibay itong mga stations. Ang project ay hanggang September lamang, at pagkatapos noon, itu-turn over na po ito sa LGU (local government unit),” said Lopez.

When asked if the island group is planning to set up its own COVID-19 testing facility, Lopez stated that there are no definite plans yet. However, should there be a facility, the most likely candidate would be the Culion General Hospital, located in Culion.

“May mga naririnig nga akong mga plano tungkol doon sa testing center, pero wala pa talagang kasiguraduhan. Kung meron man, mukhang sa Culion íyon,” said Lopez.