MANILA, Philippines – Four months after the country’s hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, which saw Filipino athletes fight for the elusive overall championship, the venues used in the regional biennial meet will be repurposed for the battle against coronavirus.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of Health (DOH) have identified stadiums and centers in Metro Manila as quarantine centers. (READ: Gov’t plans to ‘isolate’ confirmed, possible coronavirus patients by April 14 – Galvez)
As of Thursday, April 2, the Ninoy Aquino Stadium (NAS), World Trade Center (WTC) and Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) were the first 3 venues converted to accommodate patients from the Manila, Makati and Pasay area.
Here are some quick facts on each venue:
Ninoy Aquino Stadium
Located inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, the newly renovated Ninoy Aquino Stadium (NAS) can accommodate 100 to 120 beds.
According to Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) national director Marc Velasco, NAS was chosen for its accessibility as it comes with a parking space, which will ease the transport of patients to the facility.
Being the smallest among the chosen venues, the center will be ready by April 10, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.
In the SEA Games, 2016 Rio Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz won her first weightlifting gold in the biennial meet at NAS.
Before the Luzon lockdown, leagues like the UAAP and national sports tournaments like the Batang Pinoy have canceled their events that were slated to be held in NAS, allowing the government to use the center indefinitely.
Velasco added that the other PSC-managed venue Philsports Complex, which hosted the SEA Games volleyball tournaments, won’t be utilized yet because some athletes, medical staff and PSC chairman William “Butch” Ramirez are still residing in the Pasig venue.
World Trade Center
The World Trade Center in Pasay is the largest among the chosen venues as it can accommodate 650 beds.
The exhibition center that has a floor space of 11,300 square meters has 4 event halls, a lobby area and a 11,400 sq m gated outdoor space.
In the SEA Games, the World Trade Center hosted the wushu, karatedo and fencing events, which saw wushu wonder Agatha Wong, national karatekas Junna Tsukii and Jamie Lim, and sabre specialist Jylyn Nicanor capture gold medals during the two-week sports affair.
Philippine International Convention Center (PICC)
The PICC, located in the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) complex, will be utilizing its two cavernous convention halls, spacious galleries, and a large tent venue to house 300 to 350 beds.
The long-time convention center hosted the boxing events during the SEA Games, where the Philippines bagged 7 gold medals compared to 2017’s two-gold haul.
The large tent venue had also served as a national canvassing center during the national elections in 2016 and 2019.
New Clark City
Located all the way in Capas, Tarlac, the New Clark City (NCC) Athletes’ Village has already been used as a quarantine facility since February to house more than 400 repatriates from the Japan cruise ship M/V Diamond Princess. (IN PHOTOS: COVID-19 quarantine facility for Filipino repatriates in New Clark City)
The Athletes’ Village boasts that it can house over 1,000 guests and also features a halal-certified dining room and a recreational area. (LOOK: New Clark City all set for SEA Games 2019 showpiece)
In the SEA Games, the NCC – which took 18 months to build – was used as the main hub as it hosted centerpiece sports athletics and aquatics.
According to BluPrint’s interview with Bases and Conversion Development Authority president Vince Dizon, there are plans to convert the National Government Administrative Center (NGAC), athletics stadium and aquatics center into COVID-19 facilities for those in the Pampanga and Tarlac area as well.
“We are currently developing the two government buildings into a COVID-19 hospital. We’re doing this to assist the two major hospitals in Clark, Medical City Clark and Our Lady of Mt Carmel Medical Center,” said Dizon. – Rappler.com