GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/18 June)– The provincial government of South Cotabato is set to forge an agreement with the Department of Health (DOH) for the full transfer to the agency of the control and management of the provincial hospital annex in Surallah town.
South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said Wednesday the signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) will pave the way for the immediate operationalization of the hospital by the DOH-Region 12.
Under the agreement, she said the DOH will fully assume the administration and management of the hospital as well as its expansion and development.
“(The DOH) will practically run the entire hospital’s operations and provide for its requirements, especially in terms of infrastructure, equipment and personal services,” the governor said.
She said the DOH has initially signified to invest around P500 million for the operationalization, expansion and further development of the hospital.
DOH-12 has included in its proposed budget for 2015 the funding support for the staffing requirement of at least 347 hospital workers.
The agency has also set aside funds for the procurement of additional equipment and for the maintenance and operating expenses of the facility.
As part of the proposed agreement, Fuentes said the facility, which is located in Barangay Dajay in Surallah, will be renamed from the current Upper Valley Community Hospital to Surallah Municipal Hospital.
She said the signing of the MOA will be among the highlights of the province’s 48th foundation anniversary and culmination of the 2014 T’nalak Festival on July 18.
The provincial hospital annex sits on a five-hectare property beside the national highway in Barangay Dajay in Surallah that was donated by the municipal government.
The construction of the facility was completed late last year but its opening was put on hold by the provincial government due to funding problems.
The project’s first phase, which was funded by a P25-million grant from diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation, was initially completed in June last year.
The second phase was funded by a P28-million grant from the DOH’s health facilities enhancement program.
Fuentes said they pushed for the transfer of the hospital’s control and management to the DOH to relieve the provincial government of the huge financial requirements of running the facility.
She said the move will also hasten the proposed conversion of the facility into a regional-level hospital, which is provided for in a pending bill at the House of Representatives filed last December by the province’s second district Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez.
House Bill 3438 specifically pushes for the upgrading and development of the provincial hospital annex as the region’s main medical facility, which will be called Soccsksargen General Hospital.
Senate President Franklin Drilon had endorsed the move to Health Secretary Enrique Ona through a letter dated November 7, 2013 and committed to sponsor a Senate version of the House bill. (MindaNews)