COTABATO CITY (PNA) – The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) continues to have the lowest number of cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country even after registering 38 new cases on Friday, October 23, an official said.
Dr. Ameril Usman, acting BARMM health minister, said in a virtual press conference Saturday that the region has a total of 1,538 COVID-19 cases, as of October 23, since the pandemic began in March.
The new cases, Usman said, came from Lanao del Sur (17), Sulu (12), Maguindanao (5), Tawi-Tawi (3), and Basilan (1).
Usman attributed the low number to the prompt reporting and timely action undertaken by local health workers, and “most importantly, the cooperation of every stakeholder”.
“Just sharing the statistics. We are not victorious with this; the battle continues,” he said.
Seven patients were also reported to have recovered from the virus Friday, raising the number of recoveries to 1,037 since March, Usman said.
The health official said BARMM has 443 active cases under isolation in various “Ligtas COVID-19” isolation facilities in BARMM.
He said a patient in Lanao del Sur died Friday, increasing the death toll to 58.
According to the National Inter-Agency Task Force, National Capital Region (NCR) had the most number of cases at 178,623 as of Friday afternoon.
BARMM officials expect that the region will remain at the bottom in the country’s list of COVID-19 cases.
Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, minister of the Interior and Local Government, said a total of P13 billion was allocated for BARMM’s Response and Recovery Action Plan for COVID-19 Pandemic (2020-2021), which was funded through the regional government’s contingency plan.
Sinarimbo said the funds would be used for different components that include programs and projects for access to basic services, transportation and communication, leadership and governance and strategic infrastructure, job generation, and early recovery.
Meanwhile, Dr. Elizabeth Samama, Maguindanao provincial health officer, said another Ligtas COVID-19 isolation facility was inaugurated in the province.
Samama said the latest isolation center was established in the town of Talitay, Maguindanao.
“We are happy to announce that we now have the facility in Talitay although not a single resident has been tested positive of COVID-19,” Samama told reporters during inauguration Friday.