GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 6 April) — The city government has allocated an additional P102 million as buffer fund for its continuing efforts to address the threats posed by the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said the funds will be utilized for possible contingency purchases in line with the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine and other COVID-19 response initiatives.
He specifically cited the need for additional food supplies for residents affected by the quarantine, and support for medical front-liners and first responders, especially the provision of personal protective equipment (PPEs).
The funds, which were part of the supplemental budget approved last week by the Sangguniang Panglunsod, will be used to augment the other needs of the designated COVID-19 isolation facilities at the city hospital and the regional evacuation center in Barangay Buayan, he said.
“We don’t have any problem right now in terms of funds as we still have enough from our budget for calamity and we’re continually negotiating with some suppliers to address the needs of our constituents,” he said in an interview with reporters.
He said they are currently consolidating the available food resources in the city, especially rice, canned goods and other food items.
The mayor acknowledged that the supplies of some food items might be affected later on by the continuing lockdown in Luzon and other areas in the country.
The local government, which was placed under a state of calamity last February 10 due to the COVID-19 threat, had released an initial P37 million to address the problem.
Rivera said they already spent around P10 million for the purchase of PPEs for front-liners, P5 million for food packs, P5 million for the food and other materials needed by the front-liners and P3.1 million for rice stocks from the National Food Authority.
“The rest of the funds are for procurement of other things incidental as we continue with our response operations. A more detailed report will be available once we liquidate the funds,” he said. (Richelyn Gubalani / MindaNews)