GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/6 July) – The provincial government of South Cotabato has allocated an additional P3.5 million to augment the operational funds and finance the construction of additional facilities of the University of the Philippines School of Health Sciences (UP-SHS) extension campus in Koronadal City.
South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Pingoy Jr. said the local government is set to release some P1.5 million to the UP-SHS administration as part of its earlier commitment to assist the operations of the UP extension unit, which opened in the area last year.
He said they have also set aside an additional P2 million for the construction of toilet and bathroom facilities and a bridge at the four-hectare UP-SHS campus in Barangay Carpenter Hill in Koronadal.
“This is an ongoing initiative and we’re continually looking for funding resources to help address the infrastructure and operational needs of the UP unit,” the governor said.
Pingoy said the provincial government spent some P7.5 million for the initial development phase of the UP campus, which includes the construction of a two-storey, six-classroom main building and a UP Oblation landmark.
The new UP extension campus is scheduled for formal inauguration on July 19.
He said the UP-SHS is currently using three classrooms for its classes and the other three rooms for its faculty and administrative offices.
The UP extension unit, which initially utilized the training hall and dormitory of the Provincial Scion Grove Research and Demo Farm in Barangay Reyes in Banga town, started its operations last year with at least 36 scholars.
Prof. Amabel Ganzo, UP-SHS campus director, said they enlisted 70 more scholars this school year for their ladderized midwifery, nursing and medicine programs.
She said 50 of the additional scholars came from Koronadal and various parts of South Cotabato while the 20 remaining slots were given to scholars from the provinces of Sarangani and North Cotabato and the Autonomous Region and Muslim Mindanao.
The new UP extension campus was the third health sciences unit established by UP Manila, which banners the university system’s health sciences program.
UP Manila’s School of Health Sciences has a main campus in Palo, Leyte and an extension campus in Baler, Aurora.
Based on the extension campus’s development plan, the second phase will cover the construction of a library, nursing clinical laboratory, university student council office, cafeteria, additional four classrooms and the site’s landscaping.
The third phase covers the construction of a gymnasium, male and female students’ dormitories, quarters for visiting faculty and the completion of the site’s fencing and landscaping.
Pingoy said the provincial government will deliver later this month at least 11 nipa huts that will serve as temporary dormitory units for the UP unit’s students as well as its faculty members and staff.
He said the purchase of the “resort-type” nipa huts were facilitated by the provincial government through a donation from Canadian-backed mining firm Tribal Mining Corporation based in T’boli town. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)