The event, dubbed Social Development Summit, brought together hundreds of stakeholders in education, health, social welfare, and environment sectors at the Lanao del Sur Provincial Capitol.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman, together with officials from the regional departments of Education (DepEd), Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Health, and Environment and Natural Resources, attended the summit to address and answer the issues and concerns of each sector.
Dr. Nariman Lao Taha, a rural health physician in the town of Sultan Dumalondong since 1990, said in more than 25 years of working, this is the first time they had a dialogue with the ARMM regional governor.
"Napakagandang pagkakataon ito na makausap namin ang regional governor at mga regional secretaries para maipaabot namin ang mga concerns namin sa aming lugar. Kailangan po talaga namin ng expansion ng health facilities para ma-cater namin ang lahat ng pumupunta sa RHUs (rural health units) namin,"Dr. Taha said.
Dr. Alinader Minalang, Lanao del Sur provincial health officer, said while efforts are underway to cater to the needs of the populace, challenges still face the health sector in the province. Lanao del Sur has 1,063 barangays in 39 towns. Each of these towns has a rural health unit, but only 31 have standard buildings. Also,only 138 of the total 1,063 barangays have barangay health units.
The province has six hospitals, but only one is classified as Level 2 hospital with 200-bed occupancy. The remaining five are either infirmary, or Level 1 hospital with less than 100-bed occupancy. In 2016, the province had a total population of 828,584.
"Our dream for Lanao del Sur is a healthy, empowered and productive Maranaos," Dr. Minalang added. Other issues and concerns raised were the lack of school buildings, teacher's appointments and promotions, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) payout, and PAMANA projects.
On education issues, the regional government noted it is still working at generating an accurate data about the education sector. The province of Lanao del Sur is composed of three schools divisions, namely Lanao Sur I, II and Marawi City.
Governor Hataman encouraged the teachers and local government units to meet for the activation of local school boards. He added that the local school boards could help them resolve the issues of DepEd with immediate response.
Alfhadar Pajiji, DepEd-ARMM's assistant secretary for special projects, said they recognize the essential role of the local school boards in the advancement of the welfare of public schools in the region.
Haroun Alrashid Lucman Jr., regional vice governor and concurrent DSWD-ARMM secretary, reiterated that 4Ps is managed by the DSWD central office. "Hindi na po DSWD-ARMM ang may control sa payout kung hindi ang central office," Vice Governor Lucman said.
The first Social Development Summit in the region this year was held in Basilan province last month. Similar summits will be held in three other provinces of the region, namely Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in the coming months. (BPI/PIA-10)