By Ali G. Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Some 1,720 persons with disabilities (PWDs) have received P6,000 cash each from the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in what was described as unprecedented humanitarian intervention in the country.
MSSD workers distributed the cash aids to villages in North Cotabato that now form part of BARMM – namely those in the towns of Kabacan (150 PWDs), Carmen (236), Pikit (836), Midsayap (267), Pigcawayan (205), and Aleosan (19).
They also distributed assistive devices to physically handicapped PWDs such as 13 wheelchairs, and four varied types of canes for some of the cash beneficiaries in the same municipalities during the observance of the observance of the 43rd National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week last July 21-23, MSSD information officer Jidday Lucman said.
The cash assistance is under the “Kalinga Para sa May Kapansanan Program (KPMKP),” through which the MSSD recognizes the social protection and rights of PWDs specially the disadvantaged and underprivileged sectors. It helps support PWDs’ daily subsistence, medicines, and other needs thereby uplifting their living conditions, Lucman said.
The KPMKP is the “first of its kind” in the country ordered by BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim for MSSD Minister Raissa Jajurie to design and launch across the autonomous region in 2020, Lucman said.
“MSSD has set up different programs for PWDs and elderly persons as part of BARMM government’s comprehensive response to providing social protection intervention,” ministry’s Program Specialist Sandra Macacua said during one segment of the week-long observance.
The MSSD has also provided similar aid to PWDs and elderly citizens in the component provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi as well as the cities of Marawi, Lamitan and Cotabato. But data on the separate dispersal ceremonies were not immediately available.
Despite various challenges besetting the two-year old BARMM governance, most if not all agencies of the regional bureaucracy have launched some breakthrough programs and initiatives in collective efforts meant to prove that the new parliament-type autonomous governance “can make the difference” in the history of regional autonomy, Minister Jajurie once told reporters.
For the MSSD, Jajurie said, another record-setting program is its launch of partnership ventures with 11 provincial and district hospitals across the region, through which the ministry allocated P2-million for each health unit to cover expenses of indigent patients for this year.
“The MSSD replenishes the allocation in each hospital when exhausted,” Jajurie said in an online news report. (Read separate related news.) [AGM]