Albay to spend P500-M vs. Covid-19

Albay will spend close to PHP500 million to finance the prevention and control of the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara on Wednesday signed an ordinance passed by the Albay Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP), placing the province under a state of calamity in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s executive order declaring a State of Public Health Emergency throughout the country.

Bichara also directed the Covid Prevention and Control Crisis Committee to set up a finance mechanism to effectively operationalize the delivery of services to prevent and control the spread of the disease and provide needed assistance to cushion its health and economic impact.

In an interview, Dr. Cedric Daep, Albay Public Safety Emergency and Management Office (APSEMO) chief, said some PHP488 million would be needed to operationalize and sustain the campaign against Covid-19.

He said so far, the province raised PHP26.3 from the 30-percent Quick Response Fund (QRF) from the 1st Quarter of the year but the funds have already been spent for initial expenditures.

He said the remaining PHP464 million would be sourced from the national government and other generous donors to augment and finance and implement the month-long enhanced community quarantine program in the province.

“The financial plan would be spent to support the operation and response measures to include, among others, health and social mobilization activities, education and awareness, community mobilization, medical sanitation supplies and equipment for personal protective equipment (PPE), food and non-food assistance, and assistance for economically dislocated labor force and other welfare services,” Daep said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol said the region is still free of Covid-19 for now.

The DOH Covid Tracker showed, however, that two new patients under investigation (PUIs) have been admitted to the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital for examination, bringing to three the total number of PUIs for screening on Tuesday.

Dr. Ernie Vera, DOH-Bicol chief, said the two PUI cases were reported to the Regional Epidemiology Surveillances Unit.

The number of persons under monitoring (PUMs), on the other hand, increased by 35 percent, or 7,313 cases on top of the 13,383 recorded on Monday for a total of 20,696 PUMS as of March 17.

Masbate tops the list with 7,673; followed by Camarines Sur - 6,773; Camarines Norte - 3,835; Catanduanes - 2,256; Albay -121; and Sorsogon - 38.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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