Poor patients in Zambo, GenSan can now access BARMM’s AMBaG program

COTABATO CITY

Indigent Bangsamoro patients from communities outside the region, particularly in the province of Zamboanga Sibugay and the cities of Zamboanga and General Santos, can now benefit from Bangsamoro Government’s hospital assistance program.

This was after the regional government added Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Hospital, Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC), and local government-run Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital in General Santos City as its three new partner hospitals for its Ayudang Medikal mula sa Bangsamoro Government (AMBaG) program.

On Tuesday, May 4, Chief Minister Ahod “Al Hajj Murad” Ebrahim and Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua led through zoom conference the ceremonial signing of memorandum of agreement with Zamboanga Sibugay Governor Wilter Palma, ZCMC Hospital Chief Dr. Afdal Kunting, and Gabriel Francis Glenville Gonzalez, representative of General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera.

“The AMBaG is a flagship program born out of a simple yet meaningful desire to help the indigent and poor Bangsamoro with their hospital bills and improve their access to much needed medical procedures,” said Chief Minister Ebrahim.

While majority of the Bangsamoro people are indeed situated within BARMM, Ebrahim said there is still a significant number of Bangsamoro communities located outside the region’s territory, like those in Zamboanga and General Santos.

“Our commitment to reach our fellow Bangsamoro outside the region will never be realized if not for leaders who share the same vision for the betterment of our people,” Ebrahim said, thanking the local governments of Zamboanga and GenSan for agreeing to partner with BARMM.

In response, Governor Palma also thanked the chief minister for “taking care of our people even though only 15% of the population of Zamboanga Sibugay belongs to the Bangsamoro people, and yet they are given the chance and opportunity to avail of our medical services.”

Dr. Kunting, on the other hand, said ZCMC serves patients from Zamboanga Peninsula, Sulu, Basilan, and Tawi-Tawi, and it is a “gift” from the Bangsamoro Government to have been given the “ability to treat our patients without thinking about the financial remunerations.”

Meanwhile, Senior Minister Macacua said the MOA signing “symbolizes our shared commitment to make the lives of the Bangsamoro better than ever, be it within or outside the formal territories of the region. As such, I would like to sincerely thank our partner hospitals for accepting this collaboration. You are instrumental in making this commitment a reality.”

As of March 31, 2021, Ebrahim said AMBaG program has already helped 13,179 patients from its 11 partner hospitals across the region, and that 68% or 9, 070 of the patients went home without paying a single centavo.

Its partner hospitals include Amai PakPak Medical Center, Basilan General Hospital, Buluan District Hospital, Cotabato Regional and Medical Center, Cotabato Sanitarium Hospital, Datu Blah Sinsuat District Hospital, Dr. Serapio Montaner Al Haj Memorial Hospital, IPHO Maguidanao, IPHO Sulu, IPHO Tawi-Tawi, and Southern Philippines Medical Center.

According to AMBaG Project Manager and Cabinet Secretary Mohd Asnin Pendatun, e Bangsamoro Government plans to have at least 20 partner hospitals within and beyond BARMM’s territories by the end of 2021.

JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL

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