Philippines’ MICE venues transformed into Covid-19 care facilities

World Trade Center Metro Manila's facade; the venue, like many venues around the world, are doubling up as Covid-19 care centres

Two of the Philippines’ largest and most prominent business event venues – the World Trade Center Metro Manila (WTCMM) and Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) – are the latest in the region to be refitted as quarantine centres.

While PICC has yet to give the details of its temporary transformation, April 11 is the target date for activating WTCMM as a healthcare centre, to address the gap in facilities for Covid-19 patients.

World Trade Center Metro Manila’s facade; the venue, like many venues around the world, are doubling up as Covid-19 care centres

Once activated, the WTC Center for Covid-19 will have 502 beds separated by privacy panels for use by mild asymptomatic patients, complete with unlimited Wi-Fi, to be provided by privately-owned Globe and Smart telecommunications companies.

It will also have a nurses’ station, shower cubicles, portable toilets outside the building in addition to the existing restrooms in the venue.

WTCMM’s owning company, Manila Exposition Complex (MEC), has also offered the facilities rent-free to the Philippine government, paving the way for a genuine private sector-government collaboration.

“We are proud to be given this chance to do this for the country,” said WTCMM president and CEO Pamela D Pascual.

“Prior to the declaration of a public health emergency and Enhanced Community Quarantine (in mid-March), exhibition and event organisers were already ambivalent whether to cancel or push through with their events. The decision to cancel is difficult on their part as it takes a lot of investment to put up an exhibition,” Pascual told TTGmice.

The ongoing refitting is being handled by Ayala Corp., one of the country’s biggest business conglomerates and its construction arm, Makati Development Corp., in collaboration with Investment and Capital Corporation of the Philippines (ICCP Group), of which WTCMM’s owning company is an affiliate.

Pascual said: “The Manila Electric Co. and Ayala Corp. will foot the electricity bill, while Maynilad will take care of the water bill for the period. Some hotels have also come forward to donate beddings, linens and pillows.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ medical team will handle the operations, including equipment provisions.

Post-Covid-19, MEC will undertake massive disinfecting and sanitation of the entire building ascribing to Department of Health guidelines, to include even air-conditioning ducts, all halls, function rooms, and common areas.

WTCMM will start to host exhibitions and events as soon as the general situation normalises and when the public feel safe to attend exhibitions and events.

As confirmed Covid-19 cases continue to rise in the Philippines, affecting 3,764 people as at press time, the government is addressing the shortage of facilities for them by converting various venues into quarantine centres. These include the Ninoy Aquino Stadium at the Rizal Memorial Complex, Quezon Institute, and Philsports Complex in metro Manila; Philippine Arena in Bulacan; and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games venues in Clark, Pampanga.

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