The 22 barangays in Bataraza town will give 10% of their Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) funds to the health sector to support free hospitalization at Bataraza District Hospital (BDH).

Community relations manager Reynaldo Dela Rosa of the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) said that the SDMP portion within five years will be added to the initial P48 million donated by two mining companies.

The Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) has a P9 million share, while the P39 million is from the Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC). In addition to the help from both of them, the local government unit of Bataraza will also use its trust fund, which has about P12 million in it.

“Maganda na nagkaroon ng MOA kasi magkakaroon ng sense of accountability ‘yong bawat partner. Ang kagandahan sa MOA ay naka-direct siya for five years. Equipment muna, supplies at saka additional na manpower. Sa susunod non ay ‘yong pang-maintain ng mga gamot,” he said.

After the MOA is signed, the hospital will work on hiring additional manpower and acquiring equipment to increase the level category of BDH from the infirmary to level one. Dela Rosa said RTNMC will assist in information dissemination to explain how free hospitalization works in Bataraza.

“Hindi naman siya parang kabawasan sa community kasi ‘yang 10 percent na ‘yan ay ina-allocate din namin for health programs. Ang kagandahan niyan ay nagsama-sama siya, isa na siyang comprehensive program na pwedeng ma-monitor mo nang maganda,” he said.

The agreement will undergo a renewal every five years, which is also aligned with the five-year SDMP planning of barangays. He explained that the 10% will be deducted immediately from the SDMP component Development of Host and Neighboring Communities.

After the deduction, the SDMP shares will be released by the company to 22 barangays.

“Baka after five years, iba na naman ang needs natin. Kasi sa ngayon hindi pa kasama ‘yong repair ng buildings, electrification na isa sa mabigat sa BDH. Every three months ay nagbabayad sila ng one million para sa kuryente lang na napakabigat, doon na lang nauubos ang pondo instead na sa medicine,” Dela Rosa said.

“Okay din sa amin ‘yon kagaya sa amin na laging may mga sakit, malaki ang gagastusin. Dito na magkakaroon ng libre, malaking bagay din ‘yon. Kasi dati na wala kaming 10 percent na ibinibigay, meron kaming medical assistance kaso lang hindi rin namin kaya mabigyan lahat sa loob ng isang taon. Mas maganda na ito, magbigay lang kami ng certification na taga-barangay namin,” James Aguirre, barangay captain of Tarusan said.

According to Mayor Abraham Ibba, the 10% SDMP raises an average of P20 to P30 million per year from 22 barangays. A resident may present certification to prove identity and residence from one of the 22 barangays.

“Nag-agree ang mga barangay, nag-a-average ‘yon ng mga P20 to P30 million, at yon ang magiging pang-operational natin,” he said.

The LGU has already started to implement partial free hospitalization in 2022 and will be completely available to locals in 2023.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.