Mayor mulls ICON as isolation facility

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

The Iloilo City government is eyeing to use the Iloilo Convention Center (ICON) in Mandurriao district as isolation facility for Persons Under Monitoring (PUM) for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said ICON will be the next isolation area if the current isolation facility at the Jubilee Hall becomes full.

“We are looking at the ICON, maybe we’ll need it as our isolation center when we see our PUMs increase,” he said.

He said that the City Government is already anticipating the increase in PUMs as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is also expected to rise.

“Do you know why it will increase? Everyone who comes into contact with a positive case is considered a PUM. So we have to bring them to a certain place where we can isolate them because if we let one PUM roam around and it turns out they are positive, they will affect many. Let us not be alarmed, but I want to be transparent with all of you, we are looking at making the ICON an isolation center,” he said.

The Iloilo City Council also proposed to make PUMs and Persons Under Investigation (PUI) in the city wear special armbands.

“I plan to bring the PUMs to one place, probably to ICON, and put barriers. We’ll do logistics to provide their needs. I’ve already given instructions to provide beds, beddings and shower areas [at the Jubilee Hall],” he said.

The Jubilee Hall has been holding seven PUIs and one actively-monitored PUM as of 2 p.m. of April 2, 2020.

PUMs and PUIs were transferred to the Jubilee Hall from their old location at the Iloilo Central Elementary School after the Department of Education asked the mayor to come up with a memorandum of agreement, which had angered the mayor earlier in the week.

PUIs are persons with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 who have been previously exposed to confirmed cases and/or traveled to infected areas either here or abroad, while PUMs are persons who have no signs and symptoms but have travel history to infected areas and/or have had exposure to PUIs.

Iloilo City has 52 PUIs and 284 actively-monitored PUMs as of April 2.



The mayor also said that returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) may stay for quarantine at hotels in the city.

He said this was an idea given by Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Jr.

“I talked with Governor Defensor with regard to the returning OFWs. He suggested putting them in a hotel. He is looking for a hotel. For me, if we can put them in a hotel and if [the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration] can do that, I’m okay with putting them there under quarantine for 14 days,” he said.