MANILA, Philippines – The Nurses Assigned in Rural Service (NARS) program in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will not be affected despite the reported gang rape of a volunteer nurse inside the compound of the South Upi municipal hospital in Maguindanao province.
According to a report by the Philippine Information Agency, Norma Lidasan of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-ARMM cited that the first round of project NARS in the region was highly successful. She said the ongoing second phase will proceed as planned.
A total of 133 of the 362 nurses participating in the 2nd batch of project NARS in ARMM are currently assigned in the poorest municipalities in Maguindanao, said Lidasan, who is in charge with the project.
She said the nurses are expected to help provide health service in their respective area of assignment until January of next year.
“This very sad and unfortunate incident will not stop us from helping address the much-needed health care service in the region,” she said.
Six men were earlier arrested by police for the alleged gang rape of the volunteer nurse.
However, former militiaman Melchor Fulgencio alias Boy Beling, 52, said in his affidavit that he and a buddy named Edwin raped the volunteer nurse, therefore absolving the 6 suspects.
Dr. Kadil Sinolinding, Department of Health (DoH)-ARMM secretary, said the regional government is helping ensure the fast and full recovery of the 21-year-old victim.
He also assured that the incident will not hamper the delivery of health services in the region.
“We will continue serving the community,” Dr. Sinolinding said.