SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: To make Maguindanao ready for the influx of returning Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) and Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs), the provincial government has converted its idle capitol building into a coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) isolation center here.
“This is in anticipation of the coming home of about 7,000 of our ‘kababayans’ (province-mates) who have to be isolated first before we allow them to go home,” said Maguindanao Governor Bai Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu during the inauguration of the old provincial capitol-cum-Covid-19 center located in Barangay Satan on Monday.
The three-story building was abandoned and later used as Army headquarters and eventually used as a warehouse by the provincial government after the Maguindanao massacre that led to the fall of the late former governor Andal Ampatuan Sr.
Mangudadatu and Dr. Elizabeth Samama, provincial health chief, led the inauguration of the 200-bed capacity isolation facility to be used by homecoming LSIs and ROFs soon.
It was the third local government unit- created isolation facility in Maguindanao to date.
Two other isolation facilities are inside the Cotabato Sanitarium Hospital compound in Barangay Pinaring, and the other is at the old capitol compound in Crossing Simuay, all in Sultan Kudarat town.
Mangudadatu said repair and redesign works are ongoing at the old capitol building here because it was designed to accommodate 400 beds for patients.
“What is unique in this isolation facility is it has rooms for couples or families, it has entertainment facilities to fight the boredom of patients,” Mangudadatu said.
She then directed the Integrated Provincial Health Office to ensure the patients who will be confined in the center will not complain of a lack of attention.
Mangudadatu assured that the incoming occupants will have enough food and medicine as well as fruits and vegetables.
“We will take care of you, you are our ‘kababayans’, nobody will take care of you outside the province,” Mangudadatu said, adding that it is also one way of letting the homecoming people feel that the government is working for them.