BULUAN, Maguindanao: Continuous rains spawned by an inter-tropical convergence zone have flooded at least 30 villages, mostly along the Liguasan Marsh in Maguindanao.
The submerged villages are sitting beside the 220,000-hectare marsh, also known as Maguindanao marshland, have been inundated since Wednesday.
The Maguindanao marshland serves as a catch basin of floodwaters from the Allah River in South Cotabato and the Kabacan River in the north, flowing to the Rio Grande de Mindanao and eventually the Moro Gulf.
Authorities said heavily silted waterways have cause flooding to low-lying communities surrounding the marshland.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Toto Mangudadatu said the heavily affected villages are those in Sultan sa Barongis, Raja Buayan, Datu Piang, Shariff Saydona and Datu Salibo.
He said farmers in these areas have not even fully recovered yet from the losses due to the dry spell, and now they are experiencing floods.
To cushion the impact of the calamity, Mangudadatu instructed Maguindanao’s provincial administrator Wahab Tunga to spearhead relief operations in the affected villages.
Tunga said provincial employees are now repacking about five tons of food supplies for residents in the flooded communities.
As the provincial government attends to relief operations, some village officials in communities that are not yet flooded also reported rising water levels in different waterways.
Earlier, Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, 6th Infantry Division commander, directed all of his battalion and brigade commanders to monitor the water level of rivers and respond accordingly should evacuation be necessary.
The Division Emergency Response Unit was also alerted to attend to civilians in flooded areas.
Bai Eding Mamalukay, a resident of Barangay Poblacion, Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao, said her family prefers to stay in higher grounds than evacuate to the town center.
“The water will recede after several hours anyway,” she told mediamen.
Floods were also reported in the towns of Pikit, Kabacan and Matalam in North Cotabato and in Lambayong in Sultan Kudarat province.