Koronadal City---Representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) has finally visited the province of South Cotabato to validate documents on the proposed declaration of malaria-free. Marifort Rafael, Health Education Promotions Officer (HEPO), said the province is expecting validators to scrutinize pertinent documents prior to the declaration of a malaria-free province as South Cotabato has submitted it in 2016. "The provincial malaria team with Dr, Ala Baby Vingno, the chief of the technical team, and the WHO group meet in a conference to talk about the validation and to check the documents," Rafael said. Validators are set to authenticate the reports and will conduct an investigation of possible new malaria cases. The team will also see the capacities of the local health systems that meet the demands for malaria care and prevention services, the provincial government's and other sectors investment in malaria prevention and control, the availability of logistics and the stakeholders' commitment. Dr. Rogelio Aturdido, Provincial Health Officer, said the local health investigation affirmed the new cases were not originally derived from South Cotabato but from neighboring provinces of Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani. "Knowing the fact that this is disease-free validation, WHO is very keen in their validation process because this is an important confirmation," Aturdido said. South Cotabato has been free from malaria in the last five years. But South Cotabato is still sustaining its malaria program because of the presence of vulnerable groups and the current health situation in terms of malaria program of Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani which are both in the pre-elimination phase. "The achievement of malaria-free status is attributed to local government units (LGUs) to manage and sustain malaria program in their respective localities," Aturdido stressed out, emphasizing the compliance [...]
Koronadal City---To ensure that there is an improved provincial health system, Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes called 10 town's local chief executives in a dialogue recently. "We wanted our mayors to understand the program so that the implementation will run smoothly even at the community level," Fuentes said in an interview. Fuentes, who is a fellow of the Provincial Leadership and Governance Program (PLGP), facilitated a consultative meeting with the mayors as part of the partnership between the Department of Health Regional Office 12 and the Zuellig Family Foundation that engages governors and their health team. The meeting is one of the activities under the program that aims to generate a shared understanding of the current health reality of the province and to develop a common vision among the different Local Chief Executives. "This effort is to facilitate collaborative action and concrete steps that will strengthen the provincial health system in terms of governance, financing, information system, integrated health services, health human resource development and augmentation and demand generation," Fuentes stressed out. "The mayors should feel that it is also their program," Fuentes pointed out, stressing the huge influence of LCE in the decision making of their local governance. The current provincial health system has to strengthen guided referral system, improve health facilities, address the lack of health personnel and accessible health facilities. "This move needs support from the LCE to ensure that people who reside even in the farthest sitio will avail of the quality health services anytime," Fuentes said.
Koronadal City---Health officials in South Cotabato attempts to change the cleaning habits of the local residents to fight dengue at the barangay level. Marifort Rafael, Health Education Promotions Officer, revealed the result of a local communication campaign study conducted by the Dengue Team which emphasized misunderstanding of 4 o'clock habit that is limited only to sweeping the ground and creating smoke to drive away mosquitoes every four in the afternoon. "What we are afternoon now is to eliminate possible breeding places of mosquitoes like flower vase, gutter, dish drainer, coconut shell, old tires, empty cans, and pots by making rounds every day for five minutes and turn it down so that mosquitoes have no sites to breed," Rafael explained. The Dengue Program Team gathered health workers in three towns with high cases of dengue to create local messages for the campaign. They also conducted a pretest of the local material to evaluate the attraction, comprehension, acceptability, self-involvement and persuasion before its massive production. The team plans to present the new communication material during the ASEAN Dengue Awareness Day this June.
Koronadal City---Super I, the local hero in South Cotabato who promotes integrity in the workplace, visited public schools in the province as part of his promotional tour recently. Integrity advocate Jennifer Misaen, Planning Officer I, facilitated the meet and greet with Super I among school children in the province. "We wanted to instill integrity at a young age so that it will be a way of living when they grow up," she told The Informant. Fellow advocates Stephen Penales and James Fruto encouraged children the value of integrity in all they do. "Integrity is when you do something good even others don't see it," Fruto said during the forum. Super I is part of the i-South Cotabato Integrity Program of the Provincial Government of South Cotabato which highlights strategies to combat corruption and institutionalizes transparency and accountability in governance. "i-South Cotabato weaves commitment to Integrity and Excellent Service," Fruto added.
Koronadal City---The province of South Cotabato is under Operations Plan Rabies Elimination in Dogs also known as OPLAN RED to strictly implement the reduction of rabies cases among human through massive dog vaccination. OPLAN RED will use resources from the Department of Agriculture and local government units at the municipal and provincial level to curb the deadly disease. The Integrated Provincial Health Office initiated a meeting with the local government unit of Tboli and the Provincial Veterinary to assess the current implementation of the National Rabies Prevention and Control Program. Dr. Rogelio Aturdido, Provincial Health Officer, said there is an urgent call for action to eliminate rabies in the province because of the increasing number of deaths. There were nine deaths reported to the Provincial Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit as of April 23. The number doubled compared to the same period last year. Victims were mostly children who were bitten by unvaccinated dogs. This first quarter alone, four cases were reported in Tboli particularly in barangays Kematu, Poblacion and Desawo, according to PESU. In a previous meeting, Provincial Veterinary Office requested for manpower and resources from LGU to conduct a massive dog vaccination in Tboli. Dr. Flora Bigot, OIC Provincial Veterinary Officer, proposed to utilize the Summer SPES program beneficiaries to assist the dog vaccinators during immunization. Bigot, however, said the Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Animal Industry is coordinating with the LGUs for the conduct of mass vaccination. During the Rabies Symposium in 2016, South Cotabato still believed that mass dog vaccination with 70% coverage remains to be the key strategy to control and eventually eliminate human rabies at its source.
Koronadal City---The Provincial Government of South Cotabato is prepared for the Seal of Good Local Governance evaluation on May 23. Aurora Andrea De Pedro, DILG Provincial Director, said the South Cotabato team is set to present documents and necessary means of verification to evaluators as the new indicators adopt holistic core and essential assessment areas. "The evaluating team will start the evaluation in all the towns as early as May 15 in South Cotabato and will end on May 26," de Pedro said. Peace and Order is the newest addition in the assessment areas which will be evaluated by the DILG while Tourism, Culture and the Arts are also added in the essential area. However, under the guidelines, the LGU must pass the four core area and at least one essential area. SGLG is an award that looks into the LGUs financial management, disaster preparedness, social protection, business friendliness, peace and order, environmental management, tourism, arts and culture. Passers of the SGLG will have access to the programs and capacity development assistance and the Performance Challenge Fund which funds local development initiatives. South Cotabato is a holder of the SGLG marker in 2015.
LGUs to be mobilized The six-year plan for a drastic change in the number of malnourished children in the country is mostly challenging in the part of local government units as the strategic thrusts is more focused to intensify their mobilization. Maria Ana Uy, South Cotabato Provincial Nutrition Action Officer, claimed the PPAN has ambitious targets but nutrition of children is no compromise. “Nutrition Action Officers are here to push our local chief executives to make health and nutrition as one of the priority programs,” Uy said in response to the launching of PPAN in Iloilo City. South Cotabato is one of the two priority areas of the PPAN because of the high number of stunting and wasting. However, Uy reminded the public the problem on malnutrition is everybody’s business. “We need our mothers to be healthy. We need the families to have steady income to ensure nutritious food is present every day. We need our leaders to judiciously put fund to nutrition program. We need our private partners to join us in our nutrition projects,” Uy added.
Koronadal City---At least 400 more farm animals were distributed to farmers in South Cotabato as Provincial Veternary Office continued its animal dispersal program. Alan Omar Castillo, Agricultural Center Chief, said chicken, rabbit, goat, swine, cow and carabao were distributed this first quarter. More than 300 chickens and rabbits were given to farmers during outreach program in remote areas of South Cotabato. Meanwhile, the Animal Production and Processing Center has dispersed eight pigs, three carabaos and cows and six goats to farmers. APPC stepped up to distribute goat’s milk in three nearby public schools as its milk production center started to operate. From six liters a day, APPC can produce more milk in support to the nutrition program of South Cotabato. APPC is also preparing the farm for agri-tourism. In the last three months, at least 700 people visited and enjoyed the animals in the farm where the ostrich and the rabbits are the center of attraction. “We are encouraging the public, agricultural schools and interested parties who wanted to conduct their research here to visit us,” Castillo said. APPC is set to put up more bunk houses as it will cater live-in animal production and livelihood trainings soon.
Koronadal City—--Real property tax collectors confronted landlords with high land taxes which were not paid in years during a pulong-pulong spearheaded by the Provincial Treasurer’s Office in Barangay Lumakil, Polomolok recently. Joyce Parcasio, Local Treasury Officer, however, tried to settle their reaction as PTO explained the importance of paying land tax due to the government. “In many cases, they think there is a mistake but after we have explained how their taxes are computed they understand,” Parcasio said. One landowner seeked assistance to spare him from paying his land tax after heavy rain washed away at least two hectares of his land, leaving the land unproductive. Barangay officials also affirmed the latter’s situation. “In case of this situation, you better send a letter to the local assessor’s office to report so that they could re-assess your land,” Parcasio explained during the forum. The conduct of barangay forum is one of the strategies of PTO to strengthen tax collection.
South Cotabato is set to receive a budget for supplementary feeding to children five years old and below from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, a nutrition program chief confirmed. Ma. Ana Uy, Provincial Nutrition Action Officer, said nine towns and the City of Koronadal are the identified areas for the supplementary feeding in the form of morning and afternoon snacks. “We will implement the program before this year ends,” Uy said. The government will subsidize a 120-day supplementary feeding for children who are two to four years old at the Supervised Neighborhood Play, three to four year-old children enrolled in Child Development Centers and five-year old children who are not in DepEd Pre-School Centers but are in CDC. “Each child will receive P15 worth of snacks in the morning and afternoon. This is aside from the hot meal that the DSWD is already implemented,” Uy said. Based on the guideline, 36 provinces with greater magnitude of stunting and wasting among children are recipients of the project. However, South Cotabato become a recipient because it has no unliquidated advances from DSWD feeding program. “We humbly and wholeheartedly accept the help from the national government,” Uy stressed out. Malnutrition in South Cotabato is decreasing, from 10 percent of the total children population in 2010 to at least five percent in 2016.