Emergency assistance for flood victims has resumed in Maguindanao after a portion of its national highway was cleared Tuesday noon of brigand rebels who earlier attacked an oil tanker and clashed with reinforcing soldiers in ensuing firefight that forced the military to temporarily close the road to commuters including relief workers.
The 6th Infantry Division signaled the reopening of the highway along Guindulungan town, Maguindanao around 1 p.m. Tuesday after the smoke of guns subsided in the firefight that reportedly left six rebels killed but caused minor displacement among residents of barangays Bagan and Makasampen.
Governors Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao and Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao expressed dismay over the rebel attack, saying it defied anew spirit of patience in the Ramadhan fasting and aggravated also the plight of flood victims in the province.
On the lighter side, Mangudadatu and Hataman lauded the Malacanang-announced allocation Tuesday of P12.7 million emergency funds for flood victims in Maguindanao and other inundated areas, over and above the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s regular relief assistance.
The national assistance would boost the local relief operations and, more importantly, exemplified the “concern of the Aquino administration over the plight of ARMM people,” the two governors said.
Maguindanao authorities have reportedly declared a state of calamity Monday, even as the ARMM’s disaster risk reduction management council reported Tuesday night that flood-displaced families rose to 48,725 families including 242,958 persons in 181 barangays in 19 towns of the province.
The regional DRRMC said rains caused by low press area (LPA) continued yesterday in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, prolonging the suspension of classes in 115 flood-affected schools in the former province.
Technical workers from of the Department of Public Works and Highway in ARMM and Region 12 jointly started repairing the flood damages on the rip-rapped river bank of Tunggol Bridge bordering Montawal and Pagalungan towns in Maguindanao.
The regional DRRMC has reported no casualty yet in Maguindanao’s intense flooding, which spilled over to villages in Buldon town, where massive logging took place for years.
North Cotabato Governor Emylou Taliño-Mendoza on Tuesday convened jointly their provincial peace and order council and DRRMC to map out additional measures on floodwaters that engulfed low-lying villages in at least nine towns in the province.
The joint councils mulled the possibility of declaring state calamity in any unlikely event of worsened flooding in North Cotabato. Koronodal City also went on similar stance as floodwaters were reported to be not massive.
The Cotabato City government declared earlier a state of calamity Monday, even as its RRDMC reported yesterday that 15 of its barangays have been inundated with more than 30,000 residents affected. MOH I. SAADUDDIN