The Department of Health praised Clark’s best practices in managing the COVID-19 situation, including the smooth and efficient repatriation process of returning overseas Filipinos arriving at the freeport zone.
“I really like the best practice of Clark. I’m commending Clark kasi po, nakita ko po sila…meron po silang hatid-sundo sa airport. Pagdating [at] pagkaalis sa airport papunta sa mga quarantine facilities,” said Dr. Maria Francia Laxamana, DOH’s assistant secretary for field implementation and coordination team (Luzon) during the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (C.O.D.E.) Team Visit held Wednesday, September 9, at Quest Hotel in Clark, Pampanga.
Repatriates immediately get swabbed for RT-PCR tests upon arrival at the Clark International Airport before being transported in hotels within Clark to undergo quarantine while waiting for their test results. The RT-PCR test results are released within 72 hours.
Last March, Clark also provided free lodging to hundreds of passengers, mostly OFWs, who were stranded at the Clark International Airport due to lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed in provinces as a response to minimize the spread of the coronavirus in the country. Stranded passengers had access to free meals, health monitoring, and internet connectivity in hotels where they were sheltered to observe the enhanced community quarantine before they returned to their respective home destinations.
Another intervention implemented in Clark last April is the setting up of We Heal As One Centers at the ASEAN Convention Center as well as the National Government Building and Athletes’ Village in New Clark City, to house COVID patients with mild or no symptoms. The facilities were converted into quarantine facilities in just one week.
The Philippine Red Cross molecular laboratory was also constructed in Clark that strengthened implementation of an expanded targeted testing in Central Luzon, especially in Pampanga and Tarlac. The laboratory has two RT-PCR machines which can process up to 2,000 tests per day.
“We are grateful for the invaluable support and cooperation of the local government units in Central Luzon and the private sector in carrying out the strategies and protocols of the national government such as the Test, Trace, and Treat program, which have been useful in mitigating the community spread of COVID-19 and continuously saving more lives,” National Action Plan Against COVID-19 Deputy Chief Implementer Sec. Vince Dizon said. “May Clark continue to be a good example to other LGUs in beating the pandemic. Truly, there’s no better way than working together.”
Present during the CODE Team Visit were National Action Plan Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Secretary Dizon, DOH Undersecretary and Treatment Czar Leopoldo Vega, Office of Civil Defense Asst. Regional Director Maria Theresa Escolano, Pampanga Governor Dennis Pineda, Bataan Governor Albert Garica, Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., Tarlac Governor Susan Yap, Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando, and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairperson Administrator Atty. Wilma Eisma, Clark Development Corporation President and CEO Noel Manankil, Luzon International Premier Airport Development Corp. CEO Bi Yong Chungunco and local government officials in Central Luzon.