By Philippines News Agency
COTABATO CITY — After pledging the Moroland will get equal share of the national budget to end poverty in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), President Rodrigo Duterte has actually granted PHP772,116,586 for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) and Doctors to the Barrios and Rural Health Practice Program.
On his Saturday visit at the ARMM regional seat, the first Mindanao President also distributed PHP46 million worth of school supplies, agricultural support, and fisheries support equipment to pre-identified beneficiaries.
“With the bulk of projects given to the region, soon the ARMM constituents will enjoy easy access to quality health care and attain good health,” Presdient Duterte said.
Dr. Kadil Sinolinding, ARMM health secretary, said the the program is expected to upgrade health facilities and augment the number of health professionals in impoverished towns across the region.
Out of the total allocation for the regional HFEP, PHP353,600,000 was allocated for health infrastructure. It includes the construction of 18 barangay health stations, 139 rural health units, and 21 local government unit hospitals.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said the program will help improve the delivery of healthcare services to un-served and under-served communities.
The HFEP will also upgrade primary and secondary health facilities to accommodate nursing students and to serve as primary health care treatment centers. This will provide patients easier access to health services, while expanding the services of existing tertiary hospitals by enabling them to be teaching and training hospitals.
The health programs form part of Duterte’s anti-poverty drive dubbed Comprehensive Reform and Development Agenda (CRDA).
Sinolinding said before the comprehensive health programs, ARMM had been implementing programs aimed at improving health services to the country’s poorest provinces. He noted that in 2010, only 47 rural health units (RHUs) exist in the region.
But the number has more than doubled within six years as 56 additional RHUs were accredited, Sinolinding said.
“The issue on health is always a priority and is of prime importance,” Sinolinding said. “Upgraded facilities will bring quality healthcare and health services closer to the constituents,” he noted.
Aside from the health facilities, the health department will spend up to PHP418,516,586 for this year to engage and deploy 1,302 nurses, midwives and physicians under the Doctors to the Barrio and Rural Health Practices Program.
Duterte and Hataman also distributed more than Php46 million worth of school supplies, agricultural support, and fisheries support equipment to pre-identified beneficiaries.
Hataman was optimistic the delivery of basic services to Moro people will have impact on the kind of lives they are currently in.
Duterte also led the ceremonial distribution of school supplies to pupils in of conflict-affected schools in Maguindanao.
Dr. John Magno, ARMM education secretary, said 5,288 pupils benefited from the distribution dubbed as Support Services Education Recovery.
Duterte also led the ceremonial distribution of PHP21-million worth of facilities to agrarian reform communities in the region. The assistance included 11 units of Kubota 4-wheel drive tractor; eight units of tresher/husker; four units of corn sheller; one unit of stationary corn mill; eight units of rice mill; eight units of stationary mini rice mill-double pass; and 10 units of multi-purpose shredder.
“This is unprecedented, no President has given much attention to Moro areas than President Duterte,” Senday Gumaban, a resident from Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao and one of the beneficiaries of government assistance.
Another beneficiary, Alambai Salman of Parang, Maguindanao, said she did not err in voting for Duterte during the May polls. “Grabe ang puso niya para sa Moro, matagal na namin ito hinintay (His heart is for Moro people, we waited this for so long),” she said of Duterte.
The President won in all Moro provinces in Mindanao.
“I did not simply win, I won by landslides,” Duterte said in his speech.