Bayanihan in the time of COVID
A Story of Hope
In January 2020, news of a new transmittable virus that causes pneumonia-like symptoms was reportedly spreading like wildfire in Wuhan, China. The Philippines had just settled down after the eruption of Taal Volcano temporarily closed down Tagaytay City and parts of the South due to ashfall and earthquakes. People were eager to forget the rocky start of 2020 as everyone looked forward to a more peaceful and enjoyable summer.
Unfortunately, on March 14, 2020, the national government declared a Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), essentially a lockdown, that shut off most businesses and caught everyone by surprise. Nobody expected the virus to be this serious. We heard of friends or relatives infected of what was now officially known as COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus 2019). The virus had reached our shores and confirmed cases were being reported at an alarming rate. The World Health Organization now called COVID-19 a global pandemic, affecting more than two million people worldwide.
During the lockdown, the President & CEO of The Medical City South Luzon (TMCSL) in Santa Rosa, Laguna, Dr. Cesar Ramon G. Espiritu, was faced with a dilemma. Many hospitals in the city, as well as the province of Laguna, were not fully equipped to take on the challenges of the pandemic. Because of its facilities and medical expertise, TMCSL seemed to be the logical choice to be the preferred COVID-patient referral hospital. This was formalized after several meetings attended by the decision makers of the different hospitals in Santa Rosa and City Mayor Arlene B. Arcillas.
Because the prime objective of the ECQ was to contain the spread of the disease, virtually all hospital operations had to stop except those needed to handle COVID cases. Non-COVID patients were not allowed into the hospital depriving them of medical care, many with urgent and even life-threatening conditions. It was because of this anomaly that the concept of a completely separate facility to care for all the institution’s COVID-19 cases was conceptualized, thereby allowing the hospital to resume normal operations.
Dr. Espiritu was contacted by Engr. Rynor G. Jamandre, President & CEO of Quantity Solutions Inc., who offered him prefabricated container vans that can be easily installed as housing for the medical staff. From there, it quickly evolved into constructing a hospital facility using these container vans that can isolate COVID-19 patients from regular patients.
The two worked with Arch. Michael Ray J. Infante, Design Director of Orion Group International Inc., to develop the initial plans for the hospital. Working from their respective homes, they were able to finalize the concept and hatch a veritable set of plans with inputs from a seasoned doctor and the preconstruction planning of a quantity surveyor. At that point, the team had three huge challenges: BUDGET, LOCKDOWN and TIME. They did not have a budget to build their plan. The second problem was the closure of businesses that limited the sourcing of materials and movement of workers. Third, the project must be built quickly to accommodate waiting patients.
The plan was to build 6 hospital rooms, 4 ICU rooms, 2 medical staff housing, 2 toilets, quarantine tent, negative pressure rooms, and support facilities for sewer lines, electricity and water. The estimated cost was 5.5 Million Pesos.
Dr. Espiritu contacted DATEM and EEI Corporation, through Engr. Levy V. Espiritu and Bobby Castillo, respectively, two of the top leading contractors in the country. Engr. Jamandre contacted his network of contractors, suppliers and manufacturers to get support for the materials. Instead of soliciting for cash donations, the team requested for materials that can be readily used. On the afternoon of April 5, 2020, the team posted the images of the planned hospital and bill of materials online via Facebook, LinkedIn and other chat groups.
Within 48 hours, the group already had donations that could complete 70% of the project. The team was receiving calls from friends committing to donate the materials and equipment. They received the following:
- 8 Prefab Container Vans – EEI Corporation
- 5 Foldable Container Vans – ORIONGROUP International
- 6 Aircon Units - CARRIER- CONCEPCION INDUSTRIES
- 10 Aircon Units - TOSOT Aircon solutions
- Structural Steel, Roofing and Workers – DATEM INC
- Wires and Cables – AC TECH
- Electrical Works – ECOWORKS and VOLTAGE
- Toilet Accessories – GRESSER Contractors
- Sealants and Adhesives – BOSTIK
- Paints and Swab Booth – DUTCHBOY and BOYSEN
- Welding Works – MULTI-AXIS
- AC Installation – ENVIRO COOL and QUESTAIRE
- Other Materials and Main Laborers – ORIONGROUP International
- Locksets – ROTARY CLUB of Paranaque
- South Plywood – ROTARY CLUB of Metro Calamba
- Cement and Aggregates – FE MORAN
- Roof Insulation – PHILIPPINE INSULATION
- Doors and Windows – DALKIA Inc
- Panelboard and Lighting – TAN DELTA ELECTRIC
- Concrete Mixer – EYELECTRIC and MULTI-AXIS
- PPEs – ARCH. JOJO TOLENTINO
- 30 Hospital Beds– Mayor Arlene B. Arcillas
- Tent Quarantine Structure - Donors
Quantity Solutions Inc. provided the engineering and over-all project management, assigning four of its engineers on site: Yogie F. de Guzman, Jonel S. Lomibao, Brian R. Rosales and Martin Louie F. Bas. These engineers volunteered their time to complete the project. Arch. Michal Ray J. Infante donated his month’s salary to the budget of the project. The president of EcoWorks, Albert Cledera, visited the site daily. Nestor Remigio, President of Tan Delta, went out of his way to get the critical materials needed. EEI Corp, through Engr. Tony Castell, also visited the site to lend his support to the crew. Danny Carino provided food and assisted in acquiring donations.
A group called Unity In Isolation, through Margarita Tarroya , Denise de Castro, Axel Korneup, Martin Leyeza and Junie De Leon, offered their Emergency Quarantine Facility as a separate structure that would add another fifteen beds, bringing the total capacity of the complex to twenty-eight rooms.
Being designated as one of two COVID Referral Centers for the city, our LGU and Santa Rosa Mayor Arlene B. Arcillas, facilitated the processing of permits and additional electric power (Meralco) connections. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Regional Office 4-A (Calabarzon) donated 12 Rx Box units to use as telemetric devices to monitor patients, through Regional Director, Alexander Madrigal.
This project is a solid testament that the Filipino Bayanihan spirit is alive and well especially during times of crisis. It showcases what we can do together as a people if we are united in achieving a common goal for the greater good. This is a testimony to the Filipino’s resolve to unite in times of adversity.
While COVID-19 may be an invisible enemy that can affect anyone, as long as there are people who are kind, generous and ready to go the extra mile, we will have a fighting chance to beat this disease. We salute everyone who was instrumental in seeing this project to its fruition. Your spirit and your altruism are a shining beacon of hope in this challenging time in our nation’s history.
For more information on Quantity Solutions’ programs and services, visit www.quantitysolution.com or call (+632) 8-856-7700.