ANKARA 

The Bangsamoro autonomous regional government in the southern Philippines has allotted $1 million to procure vaccine to treat the coronavirus.

Health Minister Dr. Amirel Usman said the regional government “is set to procure COVID-19 vaccines with an allocation of 500 million pesos [$1million] from the Office of the Chief Minster’s contingency fund,” an official statement said on Friday.

The southern autonomous region in the Philippines, with near to 5 million Muslim-dominated population, has reported 2,579 COVID-19 cases of which 89 are active.

Usman announced that the vaccine will be procured when it is available, speaking in a ceremony to handover nearly 31,900 sets of logistics to hospitals and health offices in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur provinces to prevent the spread of coronavirus on Thursday.

The logistics included 14,500 sets of personal protective equipment, 11,500 boxes of three-ply medical grade face masks, 3,000 medical gloves, 400 boxes of rapid antigen test kits, 2,500 hygiene kits, and 22 sets of air filters, read the statement on the official website.

Bangsamoro Executive Secretary Abdulraof Macacua said: “We will treat this pandemic not as a challenge but an opportunity.”

Two COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Oxford’s AstraZeneca have sought approval for vaccine roll out in the Philippines.

But the Philippines national government has not yet secured any vaccine for the country.

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao enjoys autonomy from the Philippines national government since the 2019 referendum. The government is led by Chief Minister Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim.

Meanwhile, the Bangsamoro government’s Ministry of Social Services and Development said the recently internally displaced persons from Barangay Itaw in the South Upi province will receive non-food items from the government.

A few armed attacks in December 2020 and early this month led to evacuation of over 800 families in some parts of the region.

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