DAVAO CITY — The iconic Apo View Hotel, the oldest in the city at over 70 years, is one of the local businesses that have temporarily suspended operations due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

Apo View Hotel, however, kept its rooms open for health workers who are at the frontline of the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

“To support the government with its battle against COVID-19, Apo View Hotel has opened its doors and offered free room accommodation to our frontline healthcare workers… This is to show our gratitude to the frontliners who have been risking their lives and working tirelessly to help our countrymen in this time of need,” said hotel manager Leah S. Adolfo in a text message.

Ms. Adolfo said they actually started housing 50 staff of the state-owned Southern Philippines Medical Center, the designated COVID-19 hospital in the city, even before news broke of health workers being asked to leave their rented lodgings as neighbors fear contamination.

She added that Apo View’s management firm, Global Comfort Group Corp., which is behind the Eurotel and Icon hotel brands, has also opened more than 400 rooms in other parts of the country to frontliners.

Several other hotels and motels in the city have since welcomed health workers following a call from the local government and the Davao City business chamber.

These include Blue Lotus Hotel; the Oyo Hotel chain which includes the Davao Airport View, Circle-B Suites, Chateau Cinco Dormitel, D’Airbus Inn, Yellow Pad, Sharana Pensionne, and Capital O World Palace; and Oh George! Drive-Inn.

“We are thankful for them for allowing the nurses and BPO (business process outsourcing) workers to stay. They will allow them safer and easier access to their workplaces while complying with government requirements,” Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. President John Carlo B. Tria said in a statement last week.

The discrimination against health workers, along with the logistical challenges of getting to and from medical facilities amid the community quarantine restrictions around the country, has also been reported in other areas such Iloilo City and the National Capital Region.

But response has been swift not just from commercial establishments, but local officials and the private sector in general.

In Iloilo, the local government-owned Iloilo City Community College was immediately identified as a temporary lodging facility. Donations of beds, mattresses, pillows, and linens poured in, including those from hotels in the city.

Iloilo Mayor Jerry P. Treñas, in a post on his Facebook page on March 22, hailed strong “public-private partnership” in addressing the COVID-19 health crisis, emphasizing the need for continued joint efforts to protect the medical workers in particular.

He wrote, “Please keep in mind that if they (frontliners) cannot eat or sleep well, they cannot go to work. Who will take care of you if you will be infected?” — Maya M. Padillo and Carmelito Q. Francisco