Tampakan mulls declaring state of calamity due to rise in dengue cases

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 August) — The municipal government of Tampakan is pushing for the declaration of the entire area under a state of calamity due to the rising cases of dengue infection that already affected 96 residents and left a child dead.

Tampakan Mayor Leonardo Escobillo said Tuesday they have requested the municipal council to issue a calamity declaration to facilitate the immediate release of the town’s calamity funds to address the increasing cases of the disease in the last several weeks.

He said the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council endorsed during an emergency meeting on Monday placing the down under a state calamity based on declarations earlier made by three of its 14 barangays.

The provincial government of South Cotabato, through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, also cleared their planned calamity declaration, he said.

“We really need this declaration to allow us to address the situation better using our calamity funds,” he said in a radio interview.

Escobillo said the dengue outbreak started several weeks after the onset of the rainy season last June.

He said the rains and the failure of residents to properly clean up mosquito breeding places caused the rapid spread of the disease in various communities in Barangays Poblacion, Kipalbig and Maltana.

As of Tuesday, he said 34 confirmed infections each were recorded in Barangays Kipalbig and Maltana, and 28 in Poblacion but there could be more unreported cases.

He said a child of Barangay Maltana chair Cesar Ureta earlier died due to complications caused by the disease.

“Most of the patients have already recovered but there are still some who are confined in various hospitals,” he said.

The mayor said the local government earlier shouldered the laboratory fees of the patients but their assistance was quite limited to the lack of available funds.

He said they will utilize part of the calamity funds to assist the hospital expenses of the remaining confined or admitted patients.

Escobillo said they will also expand their ongoing fogging activities to prevent the disease from spreading to other areas.

But the official acknowledged that a regular cleanup of mosquito breeding places is still the most effective way to counter dengue.

He said they have coordinated with the barangay councils to remind residents to make a daily habit the cleaning of their surroundings as well as the conduct of search and destroy activities for breeding places of mosquitoes that possibly carry the deadly dengue virus.

The campaign enjoins residents to devote at least 15 minutes in the morning and in the afternoon for the clean-up activities, he added. (MindaNews)