COTABATO CITY – Bangsamoro legislators proposed creating an office to provide health services to people infected with communicable diseases that may threaten the lives of the Bangsamoro people.
Member of the Parliament Dr. Kadil Sinolinding Jr. introduced BTA Bill No. 229, which would establish the Ministry of Health’s Bureau of Health Quarantine (BOQ).
The plan stems from lessons learned from the region’s inadequate response to the COVID-19 pandemic in its early phases when healthcare facilities were understaffed and lacked the necessary supplies and personnel.
The bill, according to Sinolinding, will be responsible for enforcing effective infectious disease surveillance and control measures. The bureau is intended to operate within a framework of local and global networking, reinforced by comprehensive regional sanitation programs at all seaports and airports under the direction of local counterparts.
In addition, the bureau will adhere to Islamic requirements to reflect the unique context of the region.
In accordance with national policies and regulations and the required standards of the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations, the BARMM’s Quarantine Health Services office will have a regional scope of function, integrating halal-based health services.
Once approved, the Bangsamoro Government, through the MOH, will examine the seaports and airports of entry and exit for incoming and outgoing domestic vessels and aircraft within BARMM.
Should the bill receive approval, the BARMM government, through the Ministry of Health, will take on the responsibility of overseeing the health conditions of incoming and outgoing vessels and aircraft at seaports and airports within the region.
They will control, direct, and manage all quarantine and isolation stations or facilities, grounds, and anchorages, and designate their boundaries.
With the approval of the Minister of Health, the Bureau’s director shall establish additional quarantine and isolation stations or facilities, grounds, and anchorages to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases of international concern into BARMM areas.
The Minister of Health may also order the closure of non-functional quarantine and isolation stations or facilities, grounds, anchorages, or any other similar establishment upon the recommendation of the director.
The bill is co-authored by MPs Atty. Lanang Ali Jr., Prof. Eddie Alih, Mudjib Abu, Abdulaziz Amenodin, Dr. Susana S. Anayatin, Dan Asnawie, Ali Montaha Babao, Bai Maleiha Candao, Atty. Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba, Suharto Esmael, Matarul Estino, Rasul Ismael, Muslimin Jakilan, Albakil Jikiri, Khalid Hadji Abdullah, Hatimil Hassan, Den Martin Kahalan, Atty. Jose Lorena, Hamid Malik, Froilyn Mendoza, Tawakal Midtimbang, Michael Midtimbang, Abdulkarim Misuari, Nurredha Misuari, Ali Salik, Atty. Rasol Mitmug Jr., Suwaib Oranon, Abdulwahab Pak, Atty. Randolph Parcasio, Ramon Piang Jr., Ali Salik, Ali Sangki, Romeo Sema, Engr. Aida Silongan, Atty. Sittie Fahanie Uy-Oyod. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)