COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament has authorized the allocation of P50-million for the purchase of sufficient supply of oxygen tanks in support of the state campaign to mitigate the effects of Coronavirus pandemic and its variants in the autonomous region.
This was announced by Member of Parliament (MP) Deputy Speaker Zia-ur Rahman Alonto-Adiong, who authored principally BTA Bill No. 95, otherwise known as “The Oxygen Buffer Stock” Act of 2021.
The Bangsamoro governance had reportedly purchased oxygen-filled tanks, which regional authorities claimed to have contributed to the total mitigation efforts against the spread of pandemic viruses in the area of autonomy.
The Bangsamoro’s Health Minister Dr. Bashary Latiph recently announced that the autonomous region has so far posted the “lowest” number of COVID-19 across the country.
But at the voting over the passage of BTA Bill No. 95, Adiong said the regional authorities could not be complacent about the situation, saying that proactive measures are far better than reactive efforts.
He cited reports about the rampaging effects of the “third wave” of infection that have already claimed many lives in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, notably neighboring areas of Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, and even Davao region.
“Given our geographical proximity to these regions, it is not anymore a question of ‘if’ but rather ‘when’ will our region be faced with similar challenges brought by this dreaded virus,” Adiong told his colleagues.
The P50-million allocation for additional oxygen tanks will be derived from standing general appropriations for the regional health emergency, and that such stuffs should be made available promptly to patients who could no longer be accommodated in designated isolation sections of hospitals across the autonomous region.
“We cannot rely solely on ‘lockdowns’ alone. We need to be forward looking as well, and be aggressive enough in battling the effects of this virus by utilizing our ready resources in order to keep our constituents safe and protected. We need this bill to pass,” Adiong said as he cast his vote before the majority followed suit during the nominal voting.
Adiong, who is deputy speaker from Lanao del Sur, acknowledged support of MPs Ubaida Pacasem and Nabil Tan, both lawyers, and colleague Engr. Baintan Ampatuan in improving his bill during the period of amendment.
“I thank our Speaker, MP Atty. Pangalian Balindong and all of my colleagues in this parliament for their support in the passage of this bill,” he added.
ALI G. MACABALANG