IOM, Japan embark on 12-month anti-pandemic program for BARMM
Bangsamoro Health Minister Bashary Latiph and Hwahyun Kim of the International Organization for Migration discussed this week the intricacies of the program.
Philstar.com/John Unson

IOM, Japan embark on 12-month anti-pandemic program for BARMM

John Unson (Philstar.com) - April 16, 2021 - 3:49pm

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Two foreign benefactors have earmarked US $2.7 million for a 12-month COVID-19 prevention program in the Bangsamororo Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The program, dubbed “Strengthening BARMM’s Preparedness and Response Capacity for Effective Covid-19 Prevention and Control,” shall be bankrolled by the International Organization for Migration of the United Nations and the Japanese government.

Physician Bashary Latiph, health minister of BARMM, said Friday the program will boost the Bangsamoro government’s COVID-19 containment efforts.

Latiph and Hwahyun Kim, head of IOM’s sub-office in Mindanao, met Wednesday and discussed the modalities of the program, to commence anytime soon.

The IOM and the Japanese government provided the BARMM government last January with more than P20 million worth of provisions and equipment, including vehicles essential to regional anti-COVID-19 initiatives.

Kim said their 12-month regional anti-coronavirus program aims to hasten the capability of the BARMM government in addressing the COVID-19 issues and concerns besetting its core territory.

The Bangsamoro region covers the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Cotabato, Lanao del Sur and Marawi.

The Bangsamoro region, which has about six million residents, has 291 active COVID-19 cases as of April 15, according to a matrix from the Ministry of Health-BARMM.

Latiph said he is thankful to the IOM and the Japanese government for actively complementing the regional government’s effort of preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the Bangsamoro region.

“Our COVID-19 prevention and eradication efforts are on top of our priorities in the Ministry of Health,” Latiph said.

He reiterated on Friday the appeal of BARMM’s health ministry to residents in the region to adhere to protocols meant to protect them from coronavirus infection.

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