GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 24 Aug) – Flooding spawned by days of heavy rains in the upland has destroyed P130-million worth of crops and farm products and displaced thousands of families of farmers in Maguindanao province, an official said.
Ronjamin M. Maulana, Maguindanao director of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) in the Bangsamoro region, said that heavy rains in the past days from Bukidnon caused the rivers and marshlands to swell, severely affecting at least eight of the 36 towns in Maguindanao. These towns are along rivers and close to the Liguasan Marsh, a sprawling wetland in central Mindanao. Taking the brunt of the inundation are the towns of Datu Montawal, Pagalungan, Sultan Sa Barongis, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Datu Piang, Northern Kabuntalan, Mother Kabuntalan and General Salipada K. Pendatun. Maulana said their assessment found that rice farms were most affected with around P115 million destroyed, corn farms damage was pegged at P11 million and vegetable farms at P4 million. At least 1,472 farmers are affected whose families are being assisted by the government, Maulana said. A separate report by the social welfare office in Kabuntalan town said a total of 4,561 families or 22,805 persons in 17 barangays were affected by the overflowing of Rio Grande de Mindanao and the Liguasan Marsh. In the adjacent towns of Pagalungan and Datu Montawal town, the flood displaced close to 10,000 families. Some residents fled their homes when the nearby Kabacan River, a tributary of the bigger Pulangui River that flows from Bukidnon, overflowed and inundated the town’s 11 barangays. Balumol Kadiding, disaster risk reduction and management officer of the municipality of Datu Montawal, said most of the flood victims have evacuated, but some families opted to remain and wait for the floodwaters to subside. No one was reported hurt, he added, pointing out that residents in the area are used to the flooding. Kadiding said their town serves as a catch basin, being along the banks of Kabacan River and close to the Malitubog-Maridagao cutoff of the Pulangi river and Rio Grande de Mindanao, which empties to Liguasan marsh. “When it rains hard up in the mountains, we expect floods to come,” he said. A state of calamity was declared in Datu Montawal in July after intense flooding also hit the town, displacing more than 5,000 residents. Maulana said they are not yet done with their inventory and assessment of the damages in the province which will include livestock and other farm products. “Baka madagdagan pa kasi patuloy pa ang pagsama na panahon,” he said. (Rommel G. Rebollido / MindaNews)
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