South Cotabato allots P34.7M for measures vs Covid-19

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 13 March) – The provincial government of South Cotabato has allotted some P34.7 million to augment its initiatives against the possible spread of the deadly coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19).

South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. said Friday the funding was approved by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of a state of public health emergency in the entire country over the Covid-19 threat.

In an emergency meeting on Thursday, he said the council considered placing the province under a state of calamity but eventually decided that it was not yet necessary.

“There are still enough funds that we can use subject to the approval of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board),” Tamayo said in a briefing.

The governor said the allocation, which will be drawn from the local government’s 2019 PDRRM Trust Fund, will be utilized to finance various plans and programs against the Covid-19.

These include the purchase of necessary medicines and related supplies, infection control gear, testing kits and the conduct of sustained information and education campaigns within the province’s 10 towns and lone city.

As of Friday, the Integrated Provincial Health Office said there was still no confirmed case of Covid-19 in the province but it listed at least eight persons under monitoring and four patients under investigation.

Tamayo issued Executive Order No. 15 last Tuesday directing all local government units (LGU) and offices in the province to adopt stricter measures and guidelines to “prevent, curtail and contain” the spread of Covid-19.

He ordered the immediate activation of the Provincial Covid-19 Task Force, which will lead the implementation of measures to “prevent and contain the spread of Covid-19 and eliminate its threat” to local communities.

Tamayo said all mass gatherings and activities of LGUs, private organizations, business establishments and other entities are strongly discouraged and should be postponed until further notice.

He called on residents “not to panic and instead follow the precautionary measures to stop the spread of the virus.”

Tamayo said there has been no panic buying yet in the area amid the scarcity of supplies of alcohol and other hygiene products in the market.

But he urged retailers not to hoard these products and take advantage of the prevailing health crisis.

“If there is proof that these retailers are taking advantage (of the situation), they will be dealt with accordingly,” he added. (MindaNews)