NEGROS Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon said they will prioritize the prevention of dengue fever in the province as the rainy season starts.

Board Member Melvin Ibañez, who heads the Provincial Dengue Task Force, said they will recommend to Marañon the reactivation of the task force that was deactivated last year due to budgetary constraints.

Ibañez said the dengue cases from January to June this year has increased by about 122 percent with 581 cases, compared to 275 cases in the same period last year.

The cases, according to Ibañez, are alarming as three deaths occurred this year with two patients from Bago City and another from Himamaylan City.

He added that the budget for the educational campaign in 2008 was P250,000 only, by which the governor has agreed to increase it to P500,000 this year.

Ibañez has to meet with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Ernell Tumimbang to come up with a plan on dengue and other health programs of the province.

Of the 19 towns and 12 cities, excluding Bacolod, those with the highest dengue cases are the cities of Silay, Cadiz, Sagay, Bago, and Victorias. (TED)