By Zea Capistrano
DAVAO CITY – The Bangsamoro government’s COVID-19 response earned praise from the national Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) in a meeting held Thursday (June 4) at the 6th Infantry Division Camp in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.
National Action Plan against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. said the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was able to respond quickly to the pandemic, citing the low number of cases in the region.
In a statement released by the BARMM Bureau of Public Information, Galvez was quoted as saying: “The Bangsamoro government has been doing great with minimum tallied cases.”
“We are glad that even if we’re miles away, BARMM has been self-reliant,” he added.
Health Secretary and National IATF Chairperson Francisco Duque also recognized BARMM’s “collective effort” in controlling the number of COVID-19 cases. Duque also commended the regional government’s efforts in putting up treatment and monitoring facilities.
The Bangsamoro government recently inaugurated the 100-bed isolation facility in Cotabato Sanitarium Hospital in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. The facility was reportedly built “in just 40 days.” BARMM plans to put up a similar facility in Datu Blah Hospital in North Upi, Maguindanao.
BARMM currently has a 4,360-bed capacity across all its five provinces, 87 contact tracing teams, 19 mechanical ventilators (previously four), and one (shared with Region 12) RT-PCR testing facility at the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC).
Ministry of Interior and Local Government Minister Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo also said that they are prepared for those residents who will be returning to the region with BARMM’s 158 isolation facilities for locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs).
The meeting was attended by National IATF officers Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana and Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año, along with AFP Western Mindanao Command-Chief of Command Lt. Gen. Cirilito E. Sobejana.
Members of the Bangsamoro IATF — Ministry of Health Minister Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan, Ministry of Social Services and Development Minister Atty. Raissa Jajurie, Cabinet Secretary and IATF Spokesperson Mohd Asnin Pendatun, and Bureau of Public Information Executive Director Ameen Andrew Alonto — were also present.