The University of the Philippines- Diliman’s (UPD) Palma Hall, fondly called the A.S. by students, has witnessed many student gatherings. The historic building is not only home to so many Isko and Iska but is also a shelter of activism—it was in the steps of the Palma Hall where the 1971 Diliman Commune staged protests against the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos during the First Quarter Storm.
As the country battles a new enemy in COVID-19, Palma Hall is once again opening its doors to shelter Filipinos in need. This time, to COVID-19 patients around the UPD area who need isolation.
The building will be temporarily converted into a quarantine facility called “Kanlungang Palma sa Panahon ng Pandemya,” according to UP’s College of Social Sciences and Philosophy or CSSP. Palma Hall is the home of the CSSP.
“Ang mga silya ay nasa fourth floor, echoing [the First Quarter Storm] and the Diliman Commune, pero ang kalaban ngayon ay sakit. At sa halip na magtaboy ng manunupil ay tatanggap ng mga nangangailangan,” said Prof. Jem Javier of CSSP’s Department of Linguistics on the latest social engagement by the University in the storied building.
The lobby and classroom located on the first floor of Palma Hall will be the isolation area for suspected and probable cases of persons with COVID-19. As there are no physical classes at the University, all the chairs are moved to the fourth floor of the building so the second and third floors may be used as isolation areas as well.
Kanlungang Palma has set up a swabbing booth for RT-PCR tests for referrals who have not undergone COVID-19 testing.
Who will be admitted?
The building will cater to suspect and probable COVID-19 cases with mild symptoms or those who cannot be quarantined at home, while waiting for the results of their swab tests. Patients connected to the University or residing within the campus will be prioritized in the 26-bed facility. Those who are coming from nearby barangays may also be admitted.
The facility will only accept patients age 18 to 60 years old with no co-existing illnesses. Walk-in and pregnant women will not be accommodated.
Kanlungang Palma is open until July.