By Ali Macabalang
KIDAPAWAN CITY – The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) of North Cotabato is pushing for a declaration of a state of calamity in the province in the wake of the 221 percent increase in recorded dengue cases in constituent towns and city that affected 3,449 residents, with 16 deaths this year.
The PDRRMC decided to sponsor an enabling resolution during its meeting here on August 13, according to Governor Nancy Catamco.
The council resolution will be submitted to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for approval to place the province under a state of calamity, Catamco said.
The local government units of Banisilan and Alamada, two of 17 towns in North Cotabato, have already declared their state of calamity after incurring 159 and 342 dengue cases with six fatalities, respectively.
Under a state of calamity, existing laws and regulations allow LGUs to fully use their calamity funds to address emergency situations.
Once approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan headed by Vice Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, the proposed state of calamity will be immediately implemented across the province, Catamco said.
The Department of Health had recently declared a national dengue epidemic in the country following reports of 720 deaths among 10,068 dengue cases as of August 8.
Health Secretary Francisco III has deemed the figures as “highest” in South East Asia.
DOH reports showed that Region XII (Soccsksargen) has the biggest dengue cases in the country of 17 administrative regions. Region XII covers South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat provinces and the cities of Gen. Santos, Koronadal, Kidapawan, and Tacurong.
In Region XII, the DOH reports said, North Cotabato has the largest number of dengue cases at 3,499 with 16 deaths from January to July this year. The figure reflected a 221 percent increase compared to dengue cases during the same period last year.
South Cotabato came in second as it posted 3,301 cases with 16 deaths. Sultan Kudarat ranked third with 1,494 cases with the highest fatality at 19 deaths, according to DOH records.
Gov. Catamco said the Integrated Provincial Health Office, led by Dr. Joel Nelton Sungcad, will spearhead all anti-dengue initiatives, including the Aksiyon Barangay Kontra Dengue (ABaKaDa) program.