COTABATO CITY –-The government of Turkey has provided the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) with a PHP7-million mobile operating clinic in support to the government’s peace initiative in southern Philippines.

“Today marks another important milestone in delivering peace dividends to our people as we transition from conflict situation into just, honorable and lasting peace and sustainable development in the Bangsamoro,” MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim said in a statement delivered by MILF Central Committee secretary Muhammad Ameen.

The turnover program was held Tuesday in Camp Darapanan, the MILF’s main base, situated in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. Yasim Baktir, the Philippine Country Director for the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), handed over the key of the mobile clinic to Ameen, who in turn handed it over to the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA).

Murad, in the same statement, quoted a 2014 Bangsamoro Development Plan that showed less than half (46.7 percent) of the Bangsamoro households have access to healthcare facilities. Murad lauded TIKA and expressed gratitude for the donation on behalf of the Bangsamoro people.

Dr. Sherjan Kalim, the BDA focal person on health and improvement program, said the mobile operating clinic will help implement the Comprehensive Bangsamoro Health Development Program.

Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan, BDA chairman, said the mobile clinic was everyone’s dream during the early days of the BDA as most of them are medical practitioners who pooled their resources to help improve medical services in Muslim communities.

Dipatuan said the mobile operating clinic is the first of its kind in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao that covers the cities of Marawi and Lamitan, and the provinces of Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Lanao del Sur and Basilan. (Edwin Fernandez/PNA)