On Sunday, May 16, Filipinos woke up to reports of fire breaking out at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila, one of the country's critical battlefronts against the coronavirus disease.
PGH is a COVID-19 referral hospital. This means that its facilities are dedicated to treating coronavirus patients referred to them, apart from treating non-COVID patients.
The first alarm was raised at 12:41 am and was declared under control at 2:46 am. The fire was extinguished at 5:41 am, according to the Manila Fire District. No casualties were reported.
In a DZBB interview, PGH spokesperson Dr. Jonas del Rosario said the fire started at the Operating Room Sterilization Area on the third floor of PGH’s central block building, where paying patients of the state-run hospital were admitted. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Immediately, calls for donation started to pop up online to help the affected patients and healthcare workers.
The PGH opened its own official call, encouraging food, non-food, and cash donations.
The University of the Philippines Manila also shared other ways to donate cash to the hospital. Cash can be deposited into the following PGH Medical Foundation Inc. accounts.
The PGH’s Human Milk Bank will accept breast milk donations on Monday, May 17, 2021, since the hospital’s power and refrigerator have been affected by the fire.
Private donors may drop off their milk at PGH Ortoll Primary Reproductive Health Care Center until 5 pm. Contact 0956 592 8892 to arrange a drop-off.
If the milk donation is dropped off using a courier service, contact the UP-PGH Milk Bank at 0920 665 5490.
Former Commission on Audit commissioner Jose Fabia, however, deems the calls unnecessary, as it is the government's responsibility to support state-run institutions during calamities.
"It is the obligation of the government to provide full and immediate support to PGH," said Fabia. "It is a government hospital that is performing a vital role in providing quality care to Filipinos. It does not have to beg support from the public. There is a calamity fund from which the government can draw support for situations such as this."
Hours after the fire, the PGH moved 12 newborn babies and other pediatric patients to different hospitals. Del Rosario advised that the hospital will not be able to accommodate new patients on Sunday and possibly on Monday, May 17, until evacuated patients are able to return to their rooms.