Bantay-Tulay teams deployed to remove water hyacinths from clogged Cotabato river

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 26 Jan) – Bantay-Tulay teams of the Bangsamoro Rapid Emergency Action Response on Disaster Incidence (READi) have been deployed since Sunday to ease the waterways surrounding the Delta Bridge after water hyacinths clogged the Rio Grande de Mindanao’s downstream exit toward Illana Bay.

The extensive growth of water hyacinths in the Delta Bridge area in Cotabato City, photographed Tuesday (26 January 2021), has clogged the flow of the Rio Grande de Mindanao. The same situation had caused massive floods in this area in 2011. Photo courtesy of Jo Henry / BARMM-READi

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, spokesperson of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and at the same time head of READi, has quickly deployed the teams working day and night until today after the massive accumulation of water hyacinths coming from the Liguasan Marsh that have clogged the river ways.

BARMM’s quick response aims to preempt the repeat of massive flooding in 2011 in Cotabato City after water hyacinths spread over a 10-hectare area of the river clogged in same place. At that time, residents and officials had not predicted the implication of the extensive growth of the water hyacinths until it was too late.

“Let’s call the attention of the [national office of the Department of Public Works and Highways] to address this immediately as this has not been turned over to BARMM,” Sinarimbo said.

On Tuesday, BARMM Bantay-Tulay teams worked manually, cutting and separating the clogged water hyacinths to clear the waterway. The DPWH-12 deployed a Watermaster amphibious excavator to help in the task.

2011 was a remarkable year, that despite the calamity brought by heavy flooding after the flow of water diverted its way going to Cotabato City.

People from various sectors volunteered to help unclog the river, showed a unifying gestures from both military and police and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels, which worked elbow-to-elbow for the betterment of all constituents. (Ferdinandh Cabrera / MindaNews)