BARMM HEALTH PROGRAM. Dr. Abdullah Dumama (seated, left), DOH Undersecretary for Visayas and Mindanao field implementation, and Dr. Bashary Latiph, BARMM health minister (seated, right) show the signed IRR of Bangsamoro Universal Health Care (UHC) along with other BARMM health officials following signing ceremonies in Davao City on Monday (April 26, 2021). The UHC law, which President Rodrigo Duterte signed in February 2019, automatically includes all Filipinos into the national health insurance program under the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation. (Photo courtesy of MOH-BARMM)

COTABATO CITY – The Ministry of Health in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MOH-BARMM) has inked the region’s Universal Health Care (UHC) implementing rules and regulations (IRR) with the Department of Health (DOH).

“The UHC affords every Bangsamoro equitable access to quality and affordable health care goods and services and protection from financial risks,” Dr. Bashary Latiph, MOH-BARMM minister, said Tuesday.

Latiph inked the UHC IRR documents for the region with Dr. Abdullah Dumama Jr., DOH undersecretary for the Visayas and Mindanao field implementation and coordination team, on Monday at the DOH-Region 11 office in Davao City.

He said the IRR would pave the way for the full implementation of UHC in BARMM, and that it is reflective of the region’s uniqueness and distinctive structure.

Latiph said MOH-BARMM crafted the IRR while incorporating all inputs from the series of consultations supported by the United States Agency for International Development through the BARMM health project.

In February 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11223, or the UHC Law, which automatically includes all Filipinos into the national health insurance program under the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

Latiph said with the UHC IRR signed, local governments in BARMM must register their constituents to a primary health care provider in their jurisdiction in close coordination with PhilHealth and MOH-BARMM.

He said the success of the UHC in BARMM hinges on the full cooperation of local governments through the provincial health boards.

He added that IRR also moved for the creation of the UHC BARMM Regional Management Council (RMC) that will oversee the UHC in the region.

The RMC will set the BARMM health policy directions, supervise, and monitor the integration and delivery of health services across the health care continuum.

It shall also establish monitoring and evaluation protocols of the special health fund.

Dumama, meanwhile, described the UHC IRR as a significant milestone in pushing for health reforms in BARMM.

“The signing of UHC IRR is a clear manifestation of the BARMM government’s sincerity to uplift the lives of the Bangsamoro people,” Dumama said.

BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim has commended the MOH-BARMM and all sectors that contributed to the crafting of the UHC IRR.

“I thank everyone for making this possible and we remain one with the idea that health care is not just a privilege, but a right that every Filipino and Bangsamoro must enjoy,” Ebrahim said in a separate video message released Tuesday by the region’s information office. (PNA)