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UK Government grant to benefit 3M Bangsamoros

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The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Government, the UK Government and UNICEF partner to respond to immediate needs in COVID-19 response

Manila/Cotabato City, 14 October 2020—The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Government, the UK Government and UNICEF today launched a partnership to respond to the immediate needs in the COVID-19 response and curb secondary impacts for around 3 million Bangsamoro people.

UNICEF Philippines will implement the grant from the UK Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office with BARMM Government to strengthen the capacity in the region and respond to the pandemic, particularly in:

  • risk communication and community engagement to reach around 3 million vulnerable people with important lifesaving COVID-19 messages in their own languages;
  • ensuring the continuity of essential nutrition and vaccination for around 130,000 vulnerable children and 25,000 infants in 20 municipalities;
  • emergency relief support to Tawi-Tawi, Sulu and Basilan provinces for 5,000 returnees from Sabah, Malaysia.

“With the ever-changing realities now, I remain optimistic that not only can we stand again from the public health crisis but ultimately, as the redefined Bangsamoro – harnessed through the challenges of its decades-long struggle and the birth pains of its bureaucratic transition. We thank our dear partners from the British Government and UNICEF for your incredible support for the Bangsamoro especially during these trying times. COVID-19 is, perhaps, the biggest crisis that humanity is facing during this century. We are truly grateful,” says Ahod B. Ebrahim, Chief Minister of the BARMM Government.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges to children and their families in BARMM. Even before the pandemic, the region has one of the highest poverty rates in the country, as well as one of the lowest outcomes in terms of child health, nutrition and education. The pandemic has driven many families deeper into poverty and has overwhelmed an already weak health system.

“We are delighted to partner with the BARMM Government and UNICEF to help strengthen capacity to deal with the challenges posed by COVID-19. Children are the future of the BARMM and they deserve to be given every chance to help shape its destiny. The UK Government will continue to be a committed partner in achieving lasting peace and prosperity in Mindanao for the benefit of all its citizens, but especially the most vulnerable children and families,” British Embassy in the Philippines Deputy Head of Mission Alastair Totty says.

The support bolsters UNICEF’s response, through its Mindanao Field Office, providing supplies, training and technical support to the Bangsamoro Government. Supplies procured by UNICEF include tents for hospitals, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for health and cleaning staff, and handwashing stations. UNICEF also trained health workers in Infection and Prevention Control, translated and disseminated health messages to various dialects, and engaged children and youth to share their experiences of the pandemic as a way to inform future action. Working with religious leaders, UNICEF helped incorporate COVID-19 messages in their sermons.

“We are grateful for the contribution of the UK Government, joining the Chief Minister and the BARMM Government to prevent the spread and impact of COVID-19. Bangsamoro children are some of the most vulnerable children in the Philippines. We must not allow them to be left behind in this time of great need,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov says.

Media Contacts

Ameen Andrew Alonto

Director

BARMM Bureau of Public Information

Tel: +63 917 522 1983

Email: andrew.alonto@bangsamoro.gov.ph

Cecille Fontanilla

Press and Communications

British Embassy Manila

Tel: +63 917 581 5964

Email: cecille.fontanilla@fcdo.gov.uk

Niko Wieland

Chief of Communication

UNICEF Philippines

Tel: +63 917 867 8366

Email: nmwieland@unicef.org

Marge Francia

Communication Officer

UNICEF Philippines

Tel: +63 917 858 9447

Email: mfrancia@unicef.org