Cotabato City—The Bangsamoro is determined to “win the battle” against an “unseen enemy” in Corona Virus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Health authorities said the first of the Bangsamoro government’s series of hard responses against the spread of the dreaded disease has been the upgrading of local medical facilities, which will enable the Cotabato Regional Medical Center to conduct laboratory-based tests on potential Covid-19 carriers.
On Thursday, Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Al-Hadj Murad Ebrahim of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao officially turned over a 1,000 square-meter 100-bed capacity isolation facility in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.
A ranking Moro health official said “what Covid-19 did not see in us is our ability to respond as a people. In times of crisis, the Bangsamoro stood tall; he responded beyond what is expected of him, and most of all he has not surrendered to lose to the unseen enemy, but fought back and made the necessary actions.”
BARMM Public Works Minister Eduard Uy Guerra, an architect by profession, said the modern facility had been constructed in 40 days preceding its official inauguration on May 28.
Dr. Safrullah Dipatuan, BARMM Health minister, said the construction of the isolation center inside the Cotabato Sanitarium Hospital Complex, followed the National Interagency Task Force’s accreditation of the CRMC as alternative national testing center for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.
Earlier, the BARMM chief minister signed up for a P 14 million Memorandum of Agreement with CRMC, represented by its director, Dr. Helen Yambao, to upgrade the hospital’s medical facilities amid the pandemic.
Yambao said the MoA covers the utilization of ₱14,135,500 in BARMM fund for hospital procurement of diagnostic laboratory tests equipment for the Polymerase Chain Reaction tests used in suspected COVID-19 cases. The rest would be allotted for staff development, medical workers’ allowances and other administrative costs, she said.
Dr. Ibrahim Pangato Jr., CSH director said: “During this time of uncertainty, during this time of the Covid19 pandemic, the whole nation and the world are tested to maximum limits and have suffered its devastating effects. We have seen what this virus can do to our health and environment; and to our lives.”
Ebrahim said the new BARMM facility “manifested some of the immediate responses of the Bangsamoro IATF to manage and contain the spread of Covid-19 in the region.”
“As a result of our resolve to combat this disease, here we are today, fulfilling another phase in this battle,” the chief minister said.
“The BIATF made sure that basic services were delivered, preventive measures were in place and most importantly, sustainable efforts were made to ensure that we can figuratively and literally isolate COVID-19,” Ebrahim added.
The modern isolation facility, completed in 40 days by BARMM’s Ministry of Public Works (MPW), has been turned over to the management of CSH and is expected to be fully operational within the next two weeks.
Dipatuan said a consultation-series had also been held during the construction period to ensure that the 1000-square meter building met the minimum standards set by the World Health Organization for a Covid-19 isolation facility.
“This Covid-19 isolation center becomes very vital, without this, our task to contain this virus is too difficult if not completely impossible,” Dipatuan said.