MAGUINDANAO: Local officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) over the weekend stressed the need for a huge fund to implement a long-term plan to stop the perennial flooding here.
ARMM Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman said “we believe that there is an end of this [the perennial flooding], in fact, we found the solution for it,” referring to the blueprint of the project made by the ARMM’s Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH).
Hataman said the project aimed at preventing floods in low-lying areas has been submitted to the DPWH central office and Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) but the problem is the “huge fund” needed for its implementation.
Hataman described the project as “inter-governmental” comprising the provinces of North Cotabato, Bukidnon, Maguindanao and other nearby provinces, where one of huge river in Mindanao is flowing.
“When rain poured heavily in Bukidnon and North Cotabato, that means, we have to prepare ourselves here,” said Hataman during ARMM’s relief mission to 11 villages affected by flash floods in Sultan Kudarat on Friday.
Hataman did not mention the fund required but the MinDA earlier was fast tracking the implementation of six priority flood control projects in the Mindanao River Basin worth P6.9-billion.
The projects cover the Channel modification of the Ambal-Simuay River, dredging of the Rio Grande de Mindanao, dredging and dike construction along the Tunggol River including the expansion of the Tunggol Bridge, construction of revetment dikes along the Ala River, construction of revetments along the Buluan River and the construction of revetments along the Tamontaka River.
ARMM’s Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team provided relief assistance to around 10,000 affected-families during the flood brought by a heavy downpour.
Residents said the recurring flood in their area began worsening in 2008 with water coming from river side reaching the roof of their houses.
Felicio Velas, 55, said “every time we receive alerts that a flood is coming again, we are immediately transferring our belongings at higher level areas”.
“Before 2008, the flood only reached our knees and now it is becoming worse, but we are used to it. We are thankful to the quick response by our government,” he added.
In July this year, 11 towns were hit by overflowing water from upper Maguindanao delta, which connects to the 220,000-hectare Liguasan Marsh, the “catch basin” of large rivers that spring from watersheds in surrounding hinterlands in Bukidnon, North Cotabato, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.