The last time the Philippine Arena made the headlines was last December, when U2 fans came in droves for the Irish rock band’s first Philippine concert.
Months later, the world’s largest indoor arena is making the news again. This time, it’s for a cause, as it opens its multiple doors to COVID-19 patients. Owned by the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), the 55,000-seat venue will become a quarantine area for over 2,000 COVID-19 positive, asymptomatic-mild patients
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The facility will also accommodate the frontliners, who will be assigned to the area.
Vince Dizon, the president and chief executive officer of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), told ANCX through a text message, “The INC offered the complex when they learned of the government’s plan to set up quarantine sites for COVID-19 patients in Luzon. Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez, Jr. then met with INC, and we proceeded to inspect the site and plan the facilities.”
Inside the Philippine Arena, there will be cubicles similar to those that were set up in the World Trade Center Metro Manila, the Philippine International Convention Center, and the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. The air-conditioned facility will have the necessary medical equipment, and a staff of doctors and nurses, who will be provided by the Department of Health (DOH).
All workers in the facility will be given free food, free lodging, and free Wi-Fi. The government will also provide transportation for all workers. The National Task Force will provide the personal protective equipment (PPEs). All rent, water, and electricity will be free of charge, courtesy of power and water utility companies.
Dizon says that their team is still reviewing how much of the area would be used. “But the stadium alone is more than 18,000 square meters, plus the other open space would be used,” he says.
The Philippine Arena will begin accepting patients around two weeks from today. “The BCDA is just part of the team led the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the National Task Force,” Dizon says. “We are following the strategy of building these facilities for COVID-19 positive patients as a way to prevent further spread of the virus, as well as help decongest our hospitals.”
New Clark City
The big venues inside the Clark Special Economic Zone will also be transformed into a COVID-19 quarantine facility, and will be fully operational by next week. Meanwhile, the ASEAN Convention Center in Pampanga can hold 200 beds, while the New Clark City National Government Administrative Center can hold 1,000 beds.