Fund pledges for hospital in South Cotabato reach P118.4M

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/17 September) – The provincial government of South Cotabato has so far raised some P118.4 million in funding commitments for the ongoing construction and development of the provincial hospital annex in Surallah town.

South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Pingoy Jr. said Monday the Department of Health (DOH) Region 12 has proposed for an augmentation funding of P65.4 million through its budget for next year to speed up the
development of the hospital complex in Barangay Dajay in Surallah.

He said the additional funding was on top of the P28 million earlier pledged by the agency under its health facilities enhancement program for the initial construction phase of the project.

Business conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC) had pledged an initial P25 million to help fund the construction of the hospital’s main building.

“The construction and related development works have already started but we have yet to spend a single centavo for the project. The ongoing works were funded by the pledges from the DOH and SMC,” Pingoy said.

The municipal government of Surallah earlier purchased a 4.8-hectare lot worth P5.5 million for the site of the provincial hospital annex, which will be called Allah Valley Community Hospital.

Of the proposed P65.4 million augmentation funding from the DOH, the governor said P50 million was set aside for the building’s construction while the remaining P15.4 million will be utilized for the purchase of the necessary hospital equipment.

SMC earlier increased its funding commitment for the project from P10 to P25 million to facilitate its implementation.

SMC has been building up its presence in the province following its acquisition last year of a major coal mining project in Barangay Ned in Lake Sebu town.

Sultan Energy Philippines Corp. sold its coal mine project in Lake Sebu in June last year to SMC, which also holds the coal operating contract of Daguma Agro Minerals Inc. in the same area.

Studies said the coal mining area, which is part of the mineral-rich Daguma Mountain Range, contains 426 million metric tons of coal deposits. Initial exploration and drilling results have blocked 55 million metric tons of reserves that can be mined in 526 hectares of the mountain range.

The local government is currently negotiating with various government and non-government entities for additional contributions for the project, which was estimated to cost P145 million when finally completed.

The new hospital will mainly serve residents within the province’s upper valley area, specifically from the municipalities of Surallah, Banga, Sto. Niño, Lake Sebu and T’boli.

Norala town was not included among the hospital’s primary coverage since it hosts a district hospital. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)