GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 13 February) – The provincial government of Sarangani has allocated some PHP3 million to augment its interventions against the African Swine Fever (ASF) and the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The funds were approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan or provincial board during its regular session on Tuesday based on a request from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC).
Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon certified as urgent the approval of the funding, which will be used for “the prevention and control of the threats” of both diseases.
He said they allotted some PHP2 million for the interventions against the ASF and PHP1 million for Covid-19.
The funding, which was drawn from the province’s unexpended PHP24.6 million Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management trust fund, was approved by the PDRRMC in an emergency meeting last Friday.
Dr. Arvin Alejandro, head of the Provincial Health Office (PHO), said they requested for the allocation in the wake of the nationwide alert on the possible spread of Covid-19, which had been declared by the World Health Organization as a public health emergency.
He said the funds will be utilized to procure personal protective equipment (PPE), among them standard protective face masks, and disinfectants to prevent the possible outbreak of the disease in the province.
“The procurement of the needed equipment and chemicals are [sic] already being processed (by the local government),” he said in a statement.
But he said they have standby reusable PPEs and misting machines that could be used in emergency situations involving “highly infectious disease.”
Last week, the PHO placed under isolation and quarantine for Covid-19 at least four tourists from Fujian, China who visited a beach resort in Glan town.
Alejandro said the foreigners, who were classified as persons under monitoring, remained asymptomatic and will complete Thursday their 14-day mandatory quarantine at the Regional Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Barangay Kawas, Alabel town.
Meantime, Dr. Bernard Cababat, acting head of the Provincial Veterinary Office, said the funding for the ASF will be used to augment the operations of the quarantine checkpoints and disease surveillance activities in the province’s border areas.
He said they already activated at least 14 inspection and quarantine posts since the province implemented a temporary lockdown last Feb. 3 in response to the ASF outbreak in the neighboring Davao Occidental province.
Cababat said they will specifically purchase additional plastic drums, disinfectants, power sprayers, floodlights, signages and rubber boots for the checkpoint operations.
He said they also need to purchase reflective hand gloves, whistles as well as set aside provision for food and transportation of personnel manning the quarantine posts. (MindaNews)