It looks like several major infrastructure projects will be delayed in their completion this year as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has suspended all major construction works on the island.
According to DPWH's Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo, the government agency has ceased all construction of non-essential projects in Luzon. The reason for the stoppage, however, was not entirely due to the COVID-19 threat. She stated that the DPWH is now faced with the task of converting public buildings into health facilities in order to address the rising number of cases in the country.
Just yesterday, the government agency announced that they will begin converting several large buildings into field hospitals. These include the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Forum Halls, the Rizal Memorial Coliseum (RMC) in Manila, as well as the World Trade Center in Pasay City, the venue for the annual Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) and the biennial Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS). DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said that the conversion process has already begun and they are looking to complete all three in a period of 10 days.
Apart from these facilities in Metro Manila, other regional offices of the DPWH are also busy preparing and converting public buildings into field hospitals. These include the 110 evacuation centers that the DPWH has constructed. Villar mentioned that should all of the 110 evacuation centers be converted into health facilities, they can accommodate an estimated number of 4,260 patients.
With the number of infected cases in the Philippines now at 2,084, the DPWH is kicking things into high gear to meet the sudden surge of COVID-19 cases. Despite the temporary cease of infrastructure construction, the DPWH did mention that road maintenance operations will continue.