Public Works Secretary Mark Villar on Wednesday defended the conduct of inauguration ceremonies of recently completed government buildings, particularly the Quezon Institute Offsite Modular Hospital for COVID-19 patients.
In an interview on ANC, Villar emphasized that there is nothing wrong in “blessing” a newly constructed hospital, a day after Senator Nancy Binay took a swipe against the inauguration for the Quezon Institute Offsite Modular Hospital.
“I don’t wanna dwell on this issue but before we open even a road, we do final inspections to make sure all these things are complete -- equipment that they need, the requirements, any final modifications that need to be made and of course there’s a blessing,” Villar said.
“Hindi naman masama kung ipa-bless mo 'yung building and 'yung final inspection is important and we do this for all public infrastructure.”
(There’s nothing wrong if you will have a building blessed, and the final inspection is important and we do this for all public infrastructure.)
In a social media post, Binay said the ceremony could have been skipped so that COVID-19 patients could immediately use the facility.
"Pakiusap kung pwede buksan na lang para magamit agad. Sayang lang ang oras sa ribbon cutting at photo ops [Please, just open it so that it can be used at once. We are just wasting time with the ribbon cutting and photo ops]," she said.
"These things are unnecessary and leave a bad taste for families of COVID patients who are racing against life and time," she added.
Villar, Senator Bong Go, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. attended the inauguration of the Quezon Institute Offsite Modular Hospital.
“To be fair to the government, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with conducting a final inspection, and if we bless a building, I don’t think that should be an issue,” Villar said.
“That’s why I don’t want to dwell on this. I think what’s more important is the structure itself that the government is doing to address this issue.”
The 110-bed facility will be operated by the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center and will accommodate moderate and severe cases of COVID-19.
The modular hospital will start accepting patients on Wednesday through the One Hospital Command Center. No walk-in patients would be entertained.
As the Quezon Institute Offsite Modular Hospital was opened, hospitals across the NCR Plus were dealing with overwhelming numbers of COVID-19 cases.
The surge in cases also prompted the reimposition of the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna. —KBK, GMA News