UNHCR donates biohazard protection supplies for BARMM COVID-19 frontliners

UNHCR Philippines donates PPE to the Bangsamoro government to boost regional COVID-19 containment efforts

COTABATO CITY, Philippines, 28 June 2020 — The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) donated Friday to the Bangsamoro government more than 30 boxes of biohazard protection supplies to boost regional COVID-19 containment efforts.

The supplies were turned over by emissaries of UNHCR’s representative to the Philippines, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, to Chief Minister Hadji Ahod Ebrahim of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, who is BARMM’s local government minister and spokesperson.

The symbolic handover of  face shields, masks, gloves, shoe linings and other vital provisions for regional COVID-19 frontliners was held at the 32-hectare Bangsamoro capitol compound here, witnessed by other officials, some from the region’s health ministry.

“We are thankful to the UNHCR and other agencies of the United Nations for continuously supporting the Bangsamoro government’s war on coronavirus,” Sinarimbo said Saturday.

UN entities have been implementing humanitarian programs benefiting southern Muslim, Christian and Lumad communities long before the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao got replaced in February last year with BARMM as a result of the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Ebrahim, chairman of the MILF’s central committee, said the biohazard protection supplies are so needed by BARMM frontliners to be deployed anytime soon in Zamboanga City to screen Filipinos returning to the region the Malaysian government is set to deport this month.

Many of the more than 5,000 deportees from Malaysia are residents of BARMM’s five provinces — Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, both in mainland Mindanao, and the geographically scattered Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

The Bangsamoro region already has more than a hundred COVID-19 cases as of Thursday. 

“We are grateful to the UNHCR for providing our frontliners with personal protection equipment. The gesture is, for us, a vote of confidence for the infant Bangsamoro government,” Ebrahim said. 

The United Nations Children's Fund, or UNICEF, provided last month BARMM's Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence contingent, operating under Sinarimbo's supervision, with dozens of hand washing facilities in support of the outfit's coronavirus mitigation initiatives.

UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees