COTABATO CITY: The Philippine government has allotted more than P772 million for health projects in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
During President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to this city recently, he promised to eradicate poverty and malnutrition in the ARMM.
He also pledged assistance to the poverty-stricken areas in the region and reiterated his commitment to address issues and concerns of the Moro people.
“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,” Duterte said.
In its 2016 budget, the national government earmarked P772,116,586 for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) and Doctors to the Barrios and Rural Health Practice Program in the ARMM.
The program is expected to upgrade health facilities and augment the number of health professionals in poor towns across the region.
Out of the total regional HFEP allocation, P353,600,000 was for the construction of 18 barangay (village) health stations, 139 rural health units and 21 local government unit hospitals.
ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said the program will help improve the delivery of healthcare services to unserved and underserved communities.
The HFEP will also upgrade primary and secondary health to give patients easier access to health services while expanding the services of existing tertiary hospitals by enabling them to be teaching and training hospitals for students of nursing and allied medical professions.
This program is part of the administration’s anti-poverty drive dubbed as the Comprehensive Reform and Development Agenda (CRDA).
It was initially available to municipal government units but has been expanded to include all provincial governments as well.
ARMM Health Secretary Kadil Sinolinding Jr. said the HFEP has made significant headway in improving health facilities.
There were only 47 rural health units (RHUs) in the region in 2010 but this number more than doubled within six years as 56 additional RHUs have been accredited.
“These RHUs will attend to the basic health concerns of the people, especially the poor. The issue on health is always a priority and is of prime importance,” Sinolinding said.
Aside from health facilities, the Health department will spend up to P418 million this year to deploy 1,302 nurses, midwives and physicians under the Doctors to the Barrio and Rural Health Practices Program.
For 2017, the national government has allocated an additional P184 million for 22 local government units in the ARMM.
It will also provide an additional P402 million for 1,042 health practitioners.