BARMM turns over medical supplies and equipment to CRMC /Photo courtesy by BARMM

OPAPP forms center to assist BARMM in fight vs COVID-19

COTABATO CITY – The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) has created a coordinating center to ensure harmony among local government units (LGUs) in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In a statement, OPAPP announced its creation of the Coordinating Center Mindanao on COVID-19 (CCMC) “as part of the agency’s efforts to monitor the situation” in BARMM amid the State of Health Emergency in the country.

BARMM covers Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces, the cities of Cotabato, Marawi and Lamitan, and 63 barangays in six North Cotabato towns.

“Our main priority at this point is the health and safety of the Bangsamoro people, and those… in the frontlines. We need to ensure that residents are provided with relief assistance as quarantine measures are strictly enforced,” Sec. Carlos Galvez Jr., OPAPP chief, said.

Galvez lauded the BARMM’s “LGUs and neighboring areas for promptly setting up task forces to monitor and mitigate the spread of the disease,” saying that through such task forces, “we shall be able to effectively respond to pressing issues and concerns as they arise.”

“We, therefore, urge the BARMM’s regional and local chief executives, legislators, personnel, and most especially, the people, to work together as one as we address the situation in the best way possible,” he said.

“We believe that preventing the spread of the coronavirus cannot be done through separate interventions by local government units (LGUs) but through concerted action as provided by the guidelines of the President and the IATF- EID (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases),” he pointed out.

He added: “The need for greater complementation and coordination among LGUs, government agencies, and the whole Filipino Community will be critical in this effort.”

His statement was sent to the Bulletin on Saturday in the wake of reports that BARMM and city officials were tangled in cases of collision in the enforcement of their respective campaigns against COVID-19 threats.

Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi placed this city under community quarantine on March 16 and later enhanced it into lockdown, tapping armed elements of the Task Force Kutawato (JTFK) to assist health workers and ban unnecessary entry and exit at the city borders with nearby Sultan Kudarat and Datu Odin Sinsuat towns in Maguindanao.

The BARMM’s IATF had reportedly received reports about commotions at checkpoints on the borders of this city with Sultan Kudarat (SK) and Datu Odin Sinsuat (SK) towns in the first two days of the lockdown here.