Maguindanao placed under state of calamity

BULUAN, Maguindanao (MindaNews/27 September) — The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Maguindanao has approved a resolution placing the province under a state of calamity due to the floods that affected 16 towns, Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu said on Tuesday.

This developed as four people have been confirmed killed due to the floods that hit Maguindanao since September 19, data as of 4 pm Tuesday from the provincial social welfare office said.

Classes have also been suspended in some areas where classrooms were seen submerged in murky waters.

The flooding that hit the province was due to a combination of rains spawned by a low pressure area since last week and water hyacinths that had accumulated in major waterways.

Mangudadatu said the provincial board approved this morning the resolution declaring the state of calamity.

Children frolic in murky flood waters on Tuesday (27 Sept. 2011) in Barangay Taviran, Kabuntalan, Maguindanao. The province has declared a state of calamity because of the floods that affected 16 towns. MindaNews photo by Gigi BuenoA copy of the resolution was not immediately available during the interview with the governor here. The Sangguniang Panlalawigan is holding office in Sultan Kudarat town, about three hours drive from Buluan.

“The cause of the flooding in the past few days was due to water hyacinths clogging the waterways and also garbage [thrown by residents],” he told MindaNews.

Three months ago, massive flooding affected Maguindanao, also due to the massing of water hyacinths from upstream areas. The province was also then placed under a state of calamity.

The governor said he has yet to check how much calamity fund is left for use in the latest flooding that affected at least 136 villages.

Due to the resurgence of floods, Mangudadatu revealed they are planning to buy a dredging machine that would help in cleaning up the water hyacinths in the province.

He said that last week, Maguindanao officials went to Manila to look for a dredging machine.

The latest flooding in the province was not as worse as the one in the middle of the year, the governor said.

Still, it damaged crops like corn and palay and fish cages at Lake Buluan, said Mangudadatu, adding that the estimated cost of destruction of the floods is still being assessed.

In the June flooding, 27 towns in Maguindanao were affected, according to Datukan Mokamad, a provincial social welfare office worker.

Mokamad said that of the four that died, two were only reported on Tuesday to the Maguindanao social welfare and development office.

He identified them as Pegie Lawan, 30, of Barangay Poblacion in Buluan town and Saidin Macol, 4, of Barangay Panapan in Mangudadatu town.

The former died from drowning and the latter from diarrhea, records showed.

The two earlier fatalities were Cecil Mibpandi, 8, of Barangay Digal in Pandag town and Mujahid Daigan, 13, of Barangay Dalgan in Pagalungan town, it added.

Both died because of drowning.

At the Taviran Elementary School in Kabuntalan town, Arnold Etep, Parents-Teachers Association president, said that classes were suspended since last Thursday.

“Luckily, we have anticipated the flooding and were able to place the books in elevated places of the classroom,” he said in Filipino.

He recalled that in the flooding in the middle of the year, many books were destroyed because they did not anticipate the flash flood.

The elementary school has at least 200 students from grades one to six, Etep said. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)