The local government here has converted hotel accommodations into quarantine facilities to temporarily house returning locally stranded individuals and overseas Filipinos, providing free comfort upon their return home for distressed residents outside the Palawan province.
With a daily budget of P2,000 for each returning resident drawn from the initial P472 million COVID-19 response funds of the city, the Incident Management Team of Puerto Princesa City (IMT-PPC) has so far welcomed and hosted at least 6,000 returning locals and overseas Filipinos.
Merely one week after President Rodrigo Duterte imposed the Luzon-wide lockdown mid-March, Mayor Lucilo Bayron ordered the preparation of quarantine facilities, anticipating “intensive measures” against the expected surge of COVID-19 cases from outside the island province.
Riding on a tight one-month leeway because of the total travel ban, local authorities creatively thought of converting many hotels in Puerto Princesa as quarantine facilities.
“Two birds, one stone dahil nawalan ng income ‘yong mga hotels, at least kahit papaano natulungan natin sila na hindi rin ma-zero, at nasiguro pa natin na lahat ng dumadating galing labas ay na-quarantine,” Bayron said in an earlier statement.
The protocols and guidelines, set by the IMT, City Health Office (CHO), and Palawan Medical Society (PMS), included infection control facility, nurses’ station, security rooms, PPE donning rooms, among others.
All returning individuals undergo free rapid diagnostic test (RDT) for COVID-19. Those whose results returned positive were immediately isolated to a different facility as they await for their swab test from the Ospital Ng Palawan (ONP) COVID-19 laboratory. Five meals, including morning and afternoon snacks, were also provided by the city government.
“Masasabi mo talagang worth it ang tax na binabayad mo sa gobyerno because of their service,” said Jodel Naraga, a returning resident who arrived from Metro Manila.
Only seven actives remained in this city from a total of 124 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Of the total record, 87 were imported cases or those individuals from outside Palawan. The total confirmed cases is 124 as of November 23.