GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 28 Aug) – South Cotabato’s bid to convert its provincial hospital annex in Surallah town into a regional medical center has started to gain some momentum before the Senate and House of Representatives.
South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said second district Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez is now working on the passage of a House resolution seeking the adoption and development by the Department of Health (DOH) of the Upper Valley Community Hospital in Barangay Dajay in Surallah into a regional-level facility.
She said the proposed resolution specifically seeks the conversion of the hospital into a DOH-operated regional medical center.
“The proposal has already gained the support of a number of congressmen but we need to get their actual signatures first and that might take some time,” the governor said.
At the Senate, Fuentes said Senate President Franklin Drilon already gave his commitment to “champion” the province’s conversion bid for the provincial hospital annex.
She said Drilon pledged to allot some funds for the construction of additional facilities and the acquisition of more equipment for the hospital.
To facilitate these moves, she said the provincial government is now working on the creation of a technical working group that will spearhead the hospital’s development initiatives.
The construction of the hospital, which is classified as an annex of the provincial hospital in Koronadal City, is currently ongoing and is due for completion by the last quarter of the year.
The facility, which will serve as the main inter-local health zone hospital or health care hub for the province’s upper valley area, is projected to help decongest the main South Cotabato Provincial Hospital in Koronadal City by 25 percent.
It will specifically serve patients from the municipalities of Banga, Suralah, Sto. Nino, Tboli and Lake Sebu.
Fuentes said they are pushing hard for the hospital’s conversion into a regional facility as its projected operations entail huge budgetary costs that might eventually drain the local government’s coffers.
“Based on our assessment, the maintenance and operational requirements of the hospital will mainly eat up the projected increases in our income for the coming years,” she said.
The pentagon-shaped community hospital, which will open with an initial 40 beds, will initially operate as a lying-in facility for the province’s upper valley area.
The construction of the project’s first phase, which was funded by a P25-million grant from diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation, was completed last June.
The second phase, which is due for completion next month, is presently ongoing through a P28-million grant from the DOH.