MANILA— The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has closed down its workers’ inn Gwapotel for renovation and rehabilitation.
MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago said repairs must be undertaken on Gwapotel’s fire sprinklers, fire hose cabinets and fire exits to comply with safety regulations.
“We really need to renovate the building for safety reasons,” Pialago said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Thursday.
Gwapotel, located at Port Area in Manila, was opened in 2007 during the term of former MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando to provide an alternative to in-city relocation and alleviate the traffic problem in Metro Manila. It is situated in a four story building which formerly houses the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR).
It caters to ordinary workers, small entrepreneurs, white collar job employees and other transients from the provinces doing business in Metro Manila.
Pialago said the MMDA has conducted a meeting with NAPOCOR officials last Tuesday to facilitate the renovation of the workers’ inn.
“We are coordinating with NAPOCOR for the possible massive renovation. They were very receptive and we need to have an agreement with them so that we can expedite the renovation,” the MMDA spokesperson said.
She added the agency is seeking for the renewal of its joint venture with NAPOCOR which expired in 2012. The MMDA intends to resume the operations once it has formed an agreement with NAPOCOR.
The MMDA will also pursue efforts that will ensure vendors at the Gwapotel will still be able to conduct their business.
“Gwapotel is not intended for housing. We are just hoping that regular clients can find an alternative while we are trying to fix the building,” Pialago said.
“It (Gwapotel) can currently accommodate up to 714 persons. We can’t recommend any place as cheap as Gwapotel,” she added.
MMDA is still determining the cost for the renovation and rehabilitation of the facility.
“We do not own the building and we expect huge costs for the rehabilitation,” Pialago said.
Gwapotel offers safe and decent 12-hour lodging with free showers for workers, students and travelers for PHP50, and brings lodgers closer to their workplaces, schools, and other destinations.
More than 20 food stalls on the ground floor of the inn sell a wide variety of local delicacies.
Close circuit television cameras were installed on each floor of the building to ensure the safety of the guests. Each floor has a TV set, electric fans for ventilation, and beds for up to 200 guests and security guards are on duty at any given time.
MMDA earlier said the renovation and repair works will include the plumbing system, leaking roofs, damaged ceiling, replacement of worn out vinyl tiles, broken windows, and clogged drainage system.
It will likewise consist of improvement of the lighting fixtures in the facility, as well as re-upholstering of the beds and the pillows, and thorough debugging and disinfection.
MMDA records show that its net income amounted to PHP1.4 million and averaging 400 guests per day from January to June 2016.