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North Cotabato’s anti-COVID-19 radio station airing now

John Unson - Philstar.com
North Cotabatoâs anti-COVID-19 radio station airing now
The broadcast team of the newly-established charitable 89.7 DEAR FM in Kabacan, North Cotabato.
Philstar.com / John Unson

NORTH COTABATO, Philippines — There is this month-old  charitable radio station in Kabacan town, established by medical workers to educate listeners on how to beat the COVID-19, now hitting the airwaves extensively.

The 89.7 DEAR FM in Kabacan is now popular for its extensive airing of health tips by the multi-awarded physician Kadil Sinolinding, Jr. as part of its health promotion thrusts amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sinolinding, an eye surgeon, received in Barcelona, Spain in 2001 the 10 outstanding Young Men in the World Award, from the Junior Chamber International, for humanitarian service and his involvement in medical outreach activities benefiting poor Filipinos.

The newly-established station is also a springboard for the community-service missions of the Deseret Surgimed Hospital, also in the town proper of North Cotabato’s Kabacan town.

The hospital, run by Muslim and Christian doctors, has continuing outreach activities for residents of North Cotabato with different sectarian identities.

“I had me vaccinated immediately against COVID-19 after this radio station disproved skeptics and pessimists using Facebook to scare people about bad side effects of vaccines,”  a 40 year-old ethnic Maguindanaon farmer, Karim Gulam, said in Filipino Saturday.

He said he thought vaccines could do more harm than good until he heard from a program of the 89.7 DEAR FM that all were just fallacies spread by reckless Facebook users.

For listeners, what is fascinating about the infant station is that it is run by young broadcasters who had just studied development communications in the nearby state-run University of South Mindanao.

Sinolinding said one objective of their radio station is to promote interfaith and cultural solidarity among Muslims and non-Muslims in the province.

“This is in support of the Mindanao peace process aiming to solve for good the decades-old Moro issue hounding Mindanao,” he said.

Sinolinding said the station is also open to live discussions on how the Bangsamoro government, that has 63 constituent-barangays in North Cotabato, is trying to liberate villagers from underdevelopment due to decades of secessionist strife.

A farmer’s wife, the 36-year-old Fatima Maganding, said Saturday by tuning in to 89.7 DEAR FM, she learned how to rehydrate using home remedy any of her three children who could be afflicted with diarrhea each time floodwaters contaminate the wells where they fetch water for cooking and drinking.

“Many in our community get sick of  diarrhea when floodwaters get through these wells during the rainy days,” Maganding, who resides in a village in Kabacan near the Liguasan Delta, said.

North Cotabato Vice Gov. Emmylou Taliño Mendoza was among the guests in the recent launching of the 89.7 DEAR FM.

The station is located along the stretch of the Cotabato Highway in Barangay Kayaga in Kabacan, home to mixed Muslim and Christian residents.

Mendoza said she was elated with how the station intends to protect listeners from COVID-19 and foster peace among North Cotabato’s culturally-pluralistic communities.

Sinolinding and other medical service providers in the Deseret Surgimed Hospital are certain the young broadcasters overseeing the station --- Zhaira Cambang, Melody Toniacao, Joan Magbanua, and Christian Cabingatan --- can efficiently carry out its pro-poor missions as days go by.

The broadcast radius of 89.7 DEAR FM encompasses parts of the provincial capital Kidapawan City, the highland towns of Arakan, Magpet, President Roxas, Carmen, Pikit and Aleosan, all in North Cotabato.

It also reaches parts of nearby Bukidnon province in Region 10 and Maguindanao’s adjoining Pagalungan and Montawal municipalities which are both near Kabacan. 

COVID-19 RADIO STATION
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