PARANG, Maguindanao (MindaNews/25 Aug) — What the leadership of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) failed to establish in 20 years, five Maguindanao mayors did in less than two months after they were sworn into office last June.
The five mayors — Nasser Imam of Matanog, Rocaya Dagalangit of Barira, Ibrahim Ibay of Parang, Ruth Aratuc-Tomawis of Buldon, and Marshal Sinsuat of Datu Blah — launched here the other day the Iranun Rescue Alert 511, a replication of Davao City’s vaunted 911 emergency hotline, which is manned by about 300 paramedics and rehabilitation experts backed by dozens of ambulances and mobile rescue facilities.
The IRA 511, which is open 24 hours and covers all of the towns under the five mayors that organized it, operates on appropriations provided by the five local government units.
Ibay, former speaker of the ARMM’s 24-seat Regional Assembly, said the IRA 511 has already responded to more than 20 emergency calls, some emanating from nearby strongholds of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The IRA 511 is the second emergency response network ever established in Southern Mindanao, next to Davao’s City’s 911, which was established several years ago by then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
The IRA is a brainchild of the Iranun Development Council, a group of Muslim leaders belonging to the Iranun tribe, which dominates the areas covered by the IRA 511.
Among the council’s benefactors are the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung of Germany and the Institute on Autonomy and Governance.
The formal launching here of the IRA 511 was attended by Local Government Secretary Jesus Robredo, Chief Supt. Bienvenido Latag of the ARMM police, representatives of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, and Maguindanao Gov. Datu Esmael Mangudadatu, chairman of the provincial disaster coordinating council.
Robredo, in a message before hundreds of village officials who graced the event, promised to provide the IRA 511 a brand new fire truck to beef up its emergency reaction capability.
Ibay said the IRA now has five ambulances and a police truck for its initial mobile equipment.
Latag said the IRA 511 can also use anytime all light vehicles and trucks of the PNP-ARMM for its relief and rescue operations. (Malu Cadeliña Manar / MindaNews)