‘BARMM needs more Moro doctors’ — Hataman


House Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman wants to increase the number of government doctors in the newly established Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) as a way to improve the delivery of healthcare services to the people in the region.

“BARMM could use more Moro doctors. Sa lalawigan ko lang, marami ang gustong maging doktor pero hindi kaya dahil mataas ang matrikula at gastos sa pag-aaral ng medisina,” he said in a statement.

“I call on CHED (Commission on Higher Education) to be proactive in seeking medical scholars who will stay in the barrios once they become doctors,” the Basilan solon added.

In 2011, the ARMM average of the doctor-to-patient ratio is 1:45,224, with Basilan having a 1:58,664 rate, according to figures from the Mindanao Development Authority and the Department of Health.

Recent data showed that the ARMM average is now at 1:45,197, with Basilan having at least seven doctors serving a population of 346,579. The national average is at 1:33,000.

“Add these low figures to the fact that six out of 10 Filipinos die without seeing a doctor and we can surmise the sorry state of our healthcare system not only in ARMM, but in other poor areas in the country as well. This has to change and it has to change now,” Hataman said.

“And CHED has a huge part to play in increasing the number of doctors in BARMM. It should study why there are no medical scholars in 2018 when I know for a fact that many young Moros want to be doctors,” he said.

“Kailangan paigtingin ang information drive, o kaya ang CHED na mismo ang lumapit sa mga estudyante,” Hataman said.

The Commission on Audit (COA) has recently hit CHED for the underutilization of its budget on vital educational projects that included the subsidy for medical students. In 2018, of the P250-million allotment for the program, only P55.87 million was obligated, but no actual disbursement was made.

According to a COA report, CHED explained that students did not pursue the subsidy under the program and opted for the DOH’s more comprehensive scholarship instead that included lab fees, miscellaneous and other allowances.