GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/23 April) — The Department of Health (DOH) is pushing for the completion within the next two years of the P200 million Sarangani provincial hospital in Alabel town.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona said they are currently looking for fresh resources to help fund the ongoing construction and development of the modern hospital complex, which will be called Sarangani Medical Center.
He said the agency has set aside additional funds under its current budget to augment the initial P50 million it released last year for the project.
Ona, who personally inspected the project on Tuesday afternoon, said they will work closely with the provincial government and the office of Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao in lobbying for the needed funds to complete the facility.
He initially discussed the initiative with Rep. Pacquiao and Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian-Solon, who gave the briefing on the progress of the project’s construction at the Sarangani provincial capitol compound.
“With him (Rep. Pacquiao) in Congress, we’ll work together to ensure proper allocation for the project and fast track the fund releases,” Ona told reporters.
The construction of the project started in late January last year, nearly 18 months after its formal groundbreaking.
As of Tuesday, officials said about 95 percent of the hospital’s initial phase, which was funded by the P50-million allocation from the DOH’s health facilities enhancement program, has been completed.
Pacquiao committed to complement the DOH’s efforts by seeking other possible funding sources for the project.
In July last year, Pacquiao filed House Bill No. 60 that would eventually convert the provincial hospital into a DOH-operated facility.
The proposed measure is specifically seeking for the establishment of a tertiary hospital, which will have a minimum capacity of 100 beds and a development cost of around P200 million.
“The Department of Health shall have full administrative and technical control of the said hospital. It shall also be in charge of the increase in its operating fund, upgrading of its medical equipment and facilities, and construction of its needed infrastructure,” Pacquiao said in the bill’s explanatory note.
With the construction of the hospital, he said Sarangani residents, especially the poor and those situated in far-flung areas, will no longer need to go to this city in seeking medical treatment.
“They can be treated and provided with a higher degree of medical care in their very own province,” he added. (MindaNews)