ARMM seeks P1-B budget for health

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/06 October) — The Department of Health in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on Tuesday said it has proposed a P1-billion budget from the national government to address delays in delivering health services, in particular to mothers and infants.

Aside from health services, the amount will be used to build new hospitals, Dr. Tato Usman, administrating officer of DOH-ARMM said in an interview during a forum on reproductive health in a hotel here.

ARMM has the most number of people with the least access to reproductive health services, according to the 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey.

“ARMM ranks last in many of hey key reproductive health indicators, with a large gap from the national average or even the second to the last region. Compared to the national average rates, modern contraception in ARMM is less than half; antenatal care is just a bit above half; skilled birth attendance and use of health facilities for childbirth or caesarean section delivery are just around a fourth,” the report added.

The region has also the highest poverty incidence among families at 54 percent percent compared to the national average of 25 percent.

The region comprises the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi and the cities.

Last month, ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman and officials of national government agencies signed a memorandum of agreement that allows budget to be downloaded directly to the region.

Usman said the MOA sets the budgetary guidelines that seek to improve the allocation of support fund for the autonomous region that has suffered from poor health services.

The MOA gives the ARMM governor the authority to sign the budget proposals of the local agencies, which will be submitted for review to the Development Budget Coordination Committee chaired by the Department of Budget and Management.

Usman said the funding their agency receives from its national counterpart is just to augment its own budget because as an autonomous region, ARMM is supposed to generate its own revenues.

The ARMM has proposed a P45-billion budget for next year, 60 percent of which will be allocated for its development projects.

The region’s internal revenue allotment was downloaded through the DBM regional offices in Region 9 (Western Mindanao), Region 10 (Northern Mindanao), and Region 12 (Soccsksargen), causing delays in the implementation of programs. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)