DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 31 July) – The City Health Office (CHO) of Cotabato City is now under the supervision of the Ministry of Health (MOH) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The turnover ceremony has held on Friday, July 29, the Bangsamoro Information Office (BIO) reported.
It quoted OIC Minister of Health Zul Qarneyn Abas as saying “buong puso naming tinatanggap ang (we wholeheartedly accept the) City Health Office into the folds of BARMM, especially to the Ministry of Health.”
Abas said there will be no major changes in the office as it is still be under the city government.
“We are confident with the leadership and capability of your City Health Officer, your doctors, and program coordinators,” he added.
Cotabato City voted for inclusion in the BARMM in the plebiscite of January 2019 but then Cotabato City mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi urged then President Rodrigo Duterte to maintain the status quo until the end of the transition period on June 30, 2022. The transition period was extended to June 30, 2025.
The city officially became part of the region on December 15, 2020.
Guiani lost her reelection bid for mayor. The new mayor, Mohammad Ali “Bruce” Matabalao, ran under the United Bangsamoro Justice Party, the political party of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that has a peace agreement with the government – the Comprehensive Agreement of 2014. The MILF leads the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the body tasked to govern the BARMM during the transition period.
During the turnover, Abas received from City Health Officer II Dr. Marlow Niñal
a copy of the CHO’s Local Investment Plan for Health and Annual Operation Plan, which Abas promised to review so the ministry can respond accordingly.
The BIO also reported that Niñal narrated that lack of facilities and human resources are among the major problems that he hopes the MOH will address to enhance CHO’s quality of service delivery.
“Kung naibigay sa amin ito (tulong) noon pa, siguro naging center for excellence itong Cotabato City. Ngayong nandito na kami, nakikipagtulungan na kami sa BARMM—malaking pasalamat namin dito at malaking epekto ito sa mga Cotabateño” (If this help had been given to us before, Cotabato City would probably have been a center for excellence), the BIO quoted Niñal as saying.
The BIO said a coordination meeting was held after the turnover ceremony where the programs of the MOH were presented under its Family Health cluster, Non-Communicable Cluster, Infectious Disease Cluster, Regulations, Licensing and Enforcement Division, Nutrition, Water Sanitation, and Hygiene Cluster, Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Units / Health Emergency Management Bureau, Human Resource for Health, Barangay Health Workers, and Health Facility Development Division. (MindaNews)