THE Rizal Memorial Coliseum’s legend continues to grow.
The historic basketball venue is now being converted to a medical facility as the coronavirus cases in the country rise.
Work at the newly-renovated coliseum, first built in 1934, began on Monday and could start accepting COVID-19 patients by the end of the week.
The Rizal Memorial, where the 1954 Asian Games basketball games were played and later on, NCAA and UAAP matches, was among the sites inside the Rizal Sports Complex that was destroyed in the Battle of Manila during World War II.
The nearby Ninoy Aquino Stadium had earlier been converted into a medical facility that could accommodate as many as 200 beds. Secretary Carlito Galvez, chief implementer of National Action Plan vs. COVID-19, said it could be operational as early as Tuesday, after just almost a week of work.
The Rizal Coliseum will have 120 beds and two nurse stations.
Department of Health secretary Francisco Duque III thanked the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) under chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez for offering both the Ninoy Aquino Stadium and Rizal Coliseum as quarantine facilities that will receive mild and asymptomatic COVID positive patients.
This developed as PSC executive director Guillermo Iroy mentioned that there is also the possibility of converting the Philsports Multi-Purpose Arena in Pasig as another quarantine site.
Along with the two venues inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, the World Trade Center and the PICC are also transformed as temporary community quarantine facilities. The World Trade Center can accommodate 502 patients and PICC a maximum of 294.