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Thursday, 13 February 2020 17:03

Sarangani prepares fund vs COVID-19

ALABEL, Sarangani (February 13, 2020) – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) approved on Tuesday (February 11) a P1-million prevention and mitigation fund of Sarangani for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) taken from its unexpended P24.6-million Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management trust fund.

The fund was approved along with a P2-million budget against the African Swine Fever (ASF) requested by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC).

The total of P3-million allocation, certified urgent by Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon, was intended for “the prevention and control of the threats” of both diseases.

Board Member George Falgui, chairman of the Committee on Disaster and Climate Change Adaptation, moved to pass the measure as urgent during the SP session.

Governor Solon approved in an emergency meeting of the PDRRMC on February 7 the adoption to transfer the allocation under the unexpended general fund under 5% calamity fund to its trust fund.

Dr. Arvin Alejandro, Provincial Health Officer, said the fund he had requested for COVID-19 was only an “augmentation by virtue of the high alert level of public health emergency imposed by the World Health Organization and so with Department of Health” which he pointed out as the basis” for utilizing the fund.

Alejandro said the allocation will be utilized to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) and disinfectant chemicals to suppress possible outbreak of COVID-19 in the province.

While procurement of equipment and chemicals are being processed, Alejandro said his office has available reusable PPEs and misting machines that could be used “just in case magkaroon tayo ng highly infectious disease.”

“Ready tayo dyan,” he said.

Solon pushed for the urgency to obtain the “protective gears for (our) health personnel” as he mentioned that the said gears will be used not solely for the prevention of COVID-19 but also for ASF that impelled him to declare the entire province on February 3 under temporary lockdown on the entry of live hogs and all pork products into Sarangani amid the ASF alert.

Currently, checkpoints are installed in identified entry and exit points in Sarangani where the governor assigned employees from the Capitol to augment manpower in the 24-hour surveillance.

Asked on whether he needs to also declare a lockdown in Sarangani for COVID-19, the governor responded immediately “lockdown talaga,” but on the contrary he explained “the problem is not in our area. Why? Hindi din natin malalaman kung sino ang nanggagaling sa China. Ang importante talaga ay doon sa port of entry, doon talaga nila i-monitor lahat.”

Nearby General Santos already declared the city on February 4 under a state of calamity thru a resolution that seeks temporary ban on the entry of all foreign nationals who travelled from mainland China.

Alejandro said it had been discussed with the governor that “there is no need” for Sarangani to be placed under state of calamity since their office has regular allocation under a quick response fund that could be used in case of disease outbreak. He said this is on top of the hospital assistance program of the province and the Philhealth sa Masa.

According to Alejandro the four Chinese nationals under monitoring for COVID-19 in Sarangani who will be discharged from a holding facility on February 13 are still asymptomatic.

Alejandro, on the other hand, urged the public “not to panic. Just exercise preventive measures. Yung mga sinisipon at inuubo, just practice proper etiquette. Cover (your) mouth when sneezing or wear mask kung gusto nila para hindi rin ma-shed yung virus, yung normal virus ng respiratory infection, not the COVID-19.” (Beverly C. Paoyon/SARANGANI COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE)

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