COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/10 June) – The provincial board of Maguindanao yesterday approved a resolution declaring a state of calamity in the province after floods spawned by monsoon rains submerged 11 towns affecting some 89,000 residents, Vice Governor Dustin Mastura said.
Officials, however, said their ability to respond to the calamity has been hampered by the order to freeze the account of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in relation to the plunder case filed against former ARMM governor Zaldy Ampatuan and some of his relatives.
Hit by the floods were 48 barangays in the towns of Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura, Sultan sa Barongis, Rajah Buayan, Pagalungan, Datu Montawal, Paglat, Northern Kabuntalan, Mother Kabuntalan, Datu Odin Sinsuat and Datu Abdullah Sangki.
According to Loreto Rirao, executive director of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of the ARMM, damage to agriculture has reached P332 million affecting 4,563 hectares.
He said the floodwaters came from Bukidnon and North Cotabato.
The Council met yesterday to come up with contingency measures in case the situation gets worse owing to a low pressure area that threatens to enter the country.
“We have already distributed relief goods together with DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development),” Rirao said.
Mastura meanwhile said they will pass a resolution asking for the exclusion of Maguindanao from the court order freezing the bank account of the ARMM, citing the province is under a new administration.
“We cannot deliver basic services. The people will be mad at us,” the vice governor said in mixed English and Tagalog. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)