Philhealth to provide maternal and child health care for IPs in Bicol

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LEGAZPI CITY (PNA) – In an effort to provide maternity health care facilities for the oldest tribal community in Bicol, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) will spearhead the “Run for Mother and Child” event to generate funds in pursuit of achieving universal health care for indigenous people (IP) here.

This is the first-ever initiative of the government agency in the region wherein Philhealth Bicol will be providing health care facilities for the Kabihug tribe in the hinterland of Camarines Norte.

The Philhealth run will conduct a 3K, 5K, 10K and 18K adrenaline-rushing run of fun and adventure.

Orlando D. Iñigo, Jr., Philhealth regional vice president, said they are targeting to generate at least P3 million to construct the maternal and child health care facilities intended for the tribe.

The Philhealth run coincides with the nationwide simultaneous run on Feb. 17 next year with the noble objective of establishing a model community for the Kabihug tribe.

“This project was identified through the National Commission for Indigenous People (NCIP) who is working closely with the cultural minorities in the region. The model community that will be built will provide shelter to the tribesmen and a facility for the carrying out of health programs of the government,” Inigo said.

The Kabihug is one of the surviving tribes in Bicol whose community is found in the hinterland areas of Camarines Norte, a nomadic people with no land and homes to call their own.

Kabihug is a cultural minority believed to be of pre-historic origin whose people move from one place to another.

The tribe build makeshift houses and clump under big trees for shelter during bad weather disturbances. The Kabihug tribe also reportedly lost familial and kinship ties with the Agta tribes.

In the 2007 population survey conducted by the NCIP in Bicol, the Agta population reached 46,841 consisting of 8,968 households with 23,579 males and 23,262 females scattered in 183 tribal communities across the region.

According to the study of NCIP office, the Agta population in Camarines Norte has 24 registered tribal groups in seven municipalities while the province of Sorsogon account for 44 tribal communities scattered in six towns.

The Camarines provinces has the largest concentration of IPs with 85 tribal communities located in 12 municipalities and one city while Albay has 28 tribal communities found in five towns and one city.

To lend a hand with the tribal communities, Inego said the proceeds of the run shall benefit the Kabihug tribe in Camarines Norte and some government maternity care facilities in the provinces of Bicol while the national beneficiary is the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC).

The PhilHealth Run 2013 is the first simultaneous nationwide event on Feb. 17, 2013 as PhilHealth celebrates its 18 years in providing quality health care through social health insurance. (PNA)

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