GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/9 Aug) – In a bid to decongest its usually crammed provincial hospital, South Cotabato officials are pushing for the construction and development within the next two years of a new hospital facility in the booming town of Surallah.
South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Pingoy Jr. said Tuesday the local government is currently working for the immediate purchase of a lot in Surallah town that will host the proposed medical facility, which would become the province’s fourth public hospital.
He said they earlier created a technical working group (TWG) to spearhead the preparations for the project’s construction, which was initially planned to begin before the end of the year.
“We’re seriously pushing for this project to decongest our provincial hospital and at the same time improve further the delivery of basic health and related services to our residents, especially those in remote and marginalized areas,” Pingoy said.
The governor said a local group, which he only described as a corporate entity, has pledged a grant of some P15 million to the provincial government for the construction of the initial hospital building.
He said non-government group Mahintana Foundation, a social development-oriented organization funded by fruit giant Dole Philippines Inc., signified to help fund some of the hospital’s operational requirements.
As counterpart, Pingoy said the local government will provide for the hospital’s site, facilities and manpower requirement.
“It will be a progressive buildup. We’re planning to start with a 15 to 25-bed hospital and later increase its capacity to elevate its classification into a district hospital,” he said.
The governor said they will push for the inclusion of the hospital project in the Department of Health’s (DOH) health facilities enhancement program.
Under the program, he said the local government may avail of financial grants from the DOH for the construction of additional hospital facilities and the acquisition of modern equipment.
Pingoy said they are also planning to seek grants from foreign donors and health institutions for the development of the hospital, which will mainly accommodate patients from the province’s upper valley area.
South Cotabato’s upper valley area comprises the municipalities of Surallah, Sto. Niño, T’boli, Lake Sebu, Norala and Banga.
Aside from the provincial hospital, which is located in Koronadal City, the provincial government has been supporting the operations of the district hospitals in Polomolok and Norala towns and the municipal hospital of Lake Sebu. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)