Converting passenger ships into floating Covid-19 quarantine hospitals as a makeshift medical facility, Dennis Uy’s 2GO Group Inc. lend its sailing vessels as a medical facility to house coronavirus infected patients.
The vessels served as floating quarantine hospital that allows sailing to any part of the country with the necessary medical equipment installed. Serving 1,500 patients, the ships should be operational by this week, as per the Department of Transportation (DOTr) last Sunday.
After President Duterte imposed an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) extension for the whole month of April as it has yet to contain the spread of Covid-19, 2GO had no choice but to cancel its passenger trips up to April 30 as well, putting its business operations and overall profit to a halt. When it has been suggested that ships be converted as an alternative quarantine hospital by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and was approved then by the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF), the group settled for a play of investment in a guise of generous work.
The initiative may have been the first- and any first impression is often long-lasting, as the DOTr requested for other shipping companies to do the same.
But as per Section 4 of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, President Rodrigo Duterte has the authority to “direct the operation of any privately-owned passenger vessels to serve as temporary medical facilities.”
The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act is also backed with the Domestic Shipping Development Act of 2004, which stated in Section 24 that: “In times of national emergency, when the public interest so requires, the State may, during emergencies and under reasonable terms prescribed by it, temporarily take over or direct the operations or any vessel engaged in domestic trade and commerce.”
This takes into a strange account why President Duterte seemed to be soft on its demand for needed floating facilities as needed when these laws backed him up already with authority, having to make it looked like it was of the companies’ will.
Another is Dennis Uy-led corporate social responsibility (CSR) Udenna Foundation in which the group- alongside a partnership with Korean-based MyongJi Hospital- donated 1,000 medical kits to the Department of Health, donning a Good Samaritan look upon its owner’s reputation.
“These are very somber times. COVID-19 is not just a national problem but is a global epidemic. While we’re literally disallowed to join hands, nothing is stopping the private sector, the local government, and the international community from responding collectively to contain, or at the very least slow the spread of COVID-19. We all have a role, and this is our small share to help,” said Uy.
This has been echoed in so far from President Duterte as he thanked the biggest donors in fighting Covid-19, which includes Dennis Uy’s business companies.
“The outpouring of donations and support from the businesses, organizations, foreign governments and private individuals in the past few weeks has been overwhelming,” Duterte said in a televised public address.