Cotabato townsfolk rage against plan to turn hospital into COVID-19 quarantine site
COTABATO CITY–Residents of President Roxas town in Cotabato province barricaded the entrance of a government-run hospital on Wednesday to oppose the provincial government’s plan to convert it into an isolation facility for novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) patients.
The protest came after the Sangguniang Bayan passed a resolution opposing the conversion of the New Cebu District Hospital, now known as President Roxas Community Hospital (PRCH), into a COVID-19 isolation facility.
Although there has been no confirmed COVID-19 case yet in Cotabato province, Cotabato Gov. Nancy Catamco said she wanted to prepare for a worst case scenario of a surge in COVID-19 cases in the province.
“It’s better that we are ready, and we are indeed ready for a possible spike of COVID-19 patients,” Catamco told reporters. “I am keeping my fingers crossed, (I hope) it won’t come,” she said.
Residents barricaded the hospital entrance with used tires and threatened to harm hospital workers if the plan pushed through.
Surprised by the protest, Catamco called President Roxas Mayor Jonathan Mahimpit to a dialogue.
She also said the decision to turn PRCH into an isolation facility had been recommended by the provincial health office which manages and run the health facility.
It is also based on President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of a national public health emergency for COVID-19, she added.
Mahimpit said he was unaware of the rally but admitted the town council had approved the resolution opposing the hospital conversion.
The mayor said he would try to convince the people of New Cebu village to support the project.
Following the rally, soldiers and policemen were deployed around the hospital.
Edited by TSB
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