Philippine legislator proposes using passenger ships as temporary hospitals

A Ro-Pax ferry operated by Philippine company 2Go Group (Photo: 2Go Group)

A Philippine senator is advocating the use of vacant passenger vessels as temporary floating hospitals to accommodate the growing number of cases of coronavirus patients throughout the country.

In a letter submitted to the Philippine Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday, March 26, Senator Francis Tolentino said that, since a number of such vessels are docked in the Port of Manila and unable to ply their scheduled routes due to travel restrictions, these may be used to accommodate large numbers of patients to help free up shore hospitals that have quickly reached full capacity due to the current pandemic.

Mr Tolentino said the proposal is in accordance with the recently enacted Republic Act 11469, which grants the country’s president emergency powers to assume control of commercial vessels and utilise those as temporary quarantine facilities in the event that shore hospitals could no longer house additional patients.

The senator’s proposal calls for one 1,200-passenger vessel to be docked at each of the country’s three major ports in Manila, Cebu, and Davao.

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