The provincial capitol building of South Cotabato (File photo courtesy of the provincial government)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The provincial government of South Cotabato has allotted an additional PHP40.2 million to sustain its prevention and response initiatives against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and other disasters.

Rolly Doane Aquino, acting head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), said Wednesday the funds will be used to expand the province’s health and response capacity amid the increasing number of Covid-19 cases.

He said the funding, which was approved last week by the PDRRM Council, will be drawn from the local DRRM trust fund.

Aquino said some PHP18.4 million was earmarked to augment the operational budget of the four hospitals supported by the provincial government -- the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital in Koronadal City, Soccsksargen General Hospital in Surallah, Norala District Hospital and Polomolok Municipal Hospital.

“It will be used for the purchase of personal protective equipment, medicine, medical laboratory supplies and various equipment, including mechanical ventilator,” he said in a media forum in Koronadal City.

He said around PHP5.2 million was set aside as support to the province’s co-managed Covid-19 testing laboratory at the Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center, while some PHP5.18 million was allotted for the expenses of the isolation and quarantine facilities, especially the needs of the Covid-19 patients.

Aquino said the council approved an additional PHP8 million funding for the relief assistance to residents affected by the Covid-19 lockdowns and various calamities, including the recent floods in parts of the province.   

He said it will allow the local government to buy and preposition more relief goods for its disaster response.

Some PHP1.5 million was allotted for the provision of financial assistance to disaster-affected families and PHP1.1 million for the expansion of prevention and mitigation initiatives against the African swine fever, he added. (PNA)