By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – The Police Regional Office of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PRO-BARMM) rallied the national anti-polio campaign by designating a strategic checkpoint along the highway between Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur to conduct vaccination on children aboard public and private vehicles passing by.
Travelling journalists witnessed Thursday last week a team of mostly female PRO-BARMM personnel, manning a checkpoint in Barangay Pinantao in Parang, Maguindanao and administering vaccines on children 59 months old and below
Brig. Gen. Marni Marcos, PRO-BARMM director, called the team “bakunadors” he formed for a two-pronged mission of peace keeping among commuters of all ages and vaccination for children of a prescribed age bracket.
Hundreds of children from the Iranun towns of Barira, Buldon and Matanog in Maguindanao and parts of Lanadel Sur have already been vaccinated along at the checkpoint, which is about five kilometers away from the PRO-BARMM headquarters, according to the “bakunadors.”
Lt. Darren Glenn Reyes, nurse officer, and Major Michelle Deiparine, chief nurse, led the conduct of vaccination last Thursday.
BARMM, which replaced the 29-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), covers Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur (inclouding Marawi City), Basilan (including Lamitan City), Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, Cotabato City and 63 villages in six North Cotabato towns.
The PRO-BARMM leadership was reportedly contemplating on replicating the activity in other areas to cover the children in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
Marcos has reportedly directed all police personnel across the region to actively participate in the campaign against polio virus in addition to their duty as peacekeeping forces.
Dr. Elizabeth Samama, Maguindanao health chief, lauded the police participation in the drive, particularly the role of about 600 “bakunadors” serving her province and nearby towns in Lanao del Sur.
The partnering civilian and police officials dubbed their joint activity as “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio.”