Cotabato City—The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has funded hospital services for 8,552 indigent residents through the Ayudang Medikal mula sa Bangsamoro Government (AMBAG) of the Office of the Chief Minister (OCM).
This developed as a congressional inquiry and massive termination of top to mid-level executives had ostensibly slowed down services of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) over allegations of anomalies, based on Senate and House testimonies of whistle-blowers.
Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim cited BARMM’s high poverty incidence in the latest tabulations of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), showing that about 53 percent of BARMM residents live below subsistence level. Of this, he added, only about 50 percent benefit from PhilHealth.
The BARMM Bureau of Public Information said the region has transferred about P73 Million in subsidy from Special Purpose Fund to 11 AMBAG private and government hospital-partners.
AMBAG program is also aimed to help indigent patients bear costs of advanced hospital services, not covered by PhilHealth and other medical assistance programs.
“This is one of the reasons that the Bangsamoro Government has established AMBAG. This aims to help our people secure hospital services not readily obtainable in random medical services,” Ebrahim said in Filipino.
Officials said AMBAG is BARMM’s response to economic challenges in the region which includes medical services.
The benefit package covers confinement, medicines, dialysis, implant, laboratory, radiation therapy, medical devices, assistive devices, non-and minimal procedures, transplant, rehabilitative therapy, and surgical supplies.
After its introduction last year, BARMM hoped to widen AMBAG’s reach and plans to add partner hospitals within and outside the Bangsamoro Region to ensure that indigent Bangsamoro and non-Moro residents of BARMM receive necessary medical assistance. Nash B. Maulana
“Malayo na ang narating ng AMBAG ngunit malayo pa ang ating inaasam na maaabot nito lalo na sa mga kababayan nating patuloy na nahihirapan sa mga bayarin sa ospital o ano pa mang pangangailangang medikal,” Ebrahim said.
The regional government is also developing collaborative partnership and working relations with potential hospitals in Cotabato Province, North Cotabato, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Sibugay, General Santos City and Manila. Nash B. Maulana