GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/18 July) – The provincial government of South Cotabato has placed the entire province under a state of calamity due to the rising cases of the deadly dengue fever.
South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. said he signed an executive order on Wednesday morning regarding the move after three municipalities already declared a state of calamity since last week.
He cited the municipalities of Surallah, Tantangan and Norala, which are among the areas that recorded high incidence of dengue.
The entire province, which covers 10 municipalities and one component city, is "automatically" under the state of calamity if three or more municipalities issue such declaration, he said
"We are under the state of calamity already," Tamayo said in an interview with reporters.
The governor said he convened the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Wednesday afternoon to facilitate the formal calamity declaration by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan or provincial board.
A report released by the South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office showed that dengue cases in the province reached a total of 3,347 from Jan. 1 to July 13 and was already "above the epidemic threshold."
Such figure is 149 percent higher compared to the 1,344 cases recorded in the same period last year.
At least 17 deaths due to dengue complications were reported as of July 13 but two more cases were added this week.
Koronadal City posted the most number of cases with 596, followed by Surallah with 456, Tantangan with 447, Banga with 358, Tupi with 303, Norala with 293, Polomolok with 262, Tampakan with 192, Tboli with 182, Sto. Nino with 158 and Lake Sebu with 100.
Once the provincial board issues the formal calamity declaration, Tamayo said the local government could use its calamity funds to address the dengue problem.
He said the provincial government will mainly augment the interventions set by the city and municipal governments.
But in the meantime, he urged residents to conduct massive cleanup and "Operation Kulob" or destruction of the possible breeding places of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
Tamayo said he directed the province's barangay councils to spearhead such activities through the Aksyon Barangay Kontra Dengue program. (MindaNews)