GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 22 July) — After nearly a year of delay due to funding problems, the provincial government of South Cotabato is targeting to finally open by next month its provincial hospital annex in Surallah town.
South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said Tuesday that preparations are underway for the operationalization of the P58-million facility, which will initially function as a municipal hospital.
She said the local government will operate the new hospital pending the full takeover by the Department of Health (DOH) of its management.
“We will proceed with its opening once the installation of its power and water system is completed,” Fuentes said.
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 in October last year but its opening was put on hold by the provincial government due to the lack of personnel and problems with its budget.
The DOH, represented by Health Secretary Enrique Ona, and the provincial government signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) last Friday for the operationalization, expansion and development of the hospital.
The agency allotted an initial P63 million this year to fund the necessary improvements on the facility, which would later be converted into a regional medical center.
Under the agreement, the DOH will fully assume the administration and management of the hospital as well as its expansion and development.
The DOH will officially rename the facility from the current Upper Valley Community Hospital into Surallah Municipal Hospital.
The governor said the DOH endorsed the facility’s initial operationalization by the local government and the provision of initial personnel.
“The DOH takeover and its other interventions will likely come in by January next year,” she said.
The provincial government had planned to initially operate the hospital as a lying-in facility and will mainly cater to patients from five municipalities in the province’s upper valley area.
It will initially start with 40 beds and will be manned by 36 personnel, some of whom will be taken from the current manpower pool of the provincial hospital in Koronadal City. (MindaNews)