By ALI G. MACABALANG
June 3, 2011, 7:31pm
COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Floods caused by intermittent rains have affected 21 barangays in two towns in the northern areas of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the region’s Office of Civil Defense (OCD) announced Friday.
Retired Army Gen. Loreto Rirao, OCD-ARMM director, identified the latest affected towns as Pagalungan and Datu Montawal in Maguindanao, along the Cotabato-Davao national highway, where the inundations have displaced more than 13,000 families as of Thursday.
Rirao said recent downpours starting from storm “Chedeng” and outpouring from the mountains of Bukidnon and North Cotabato caused the Rio Grande de Mindanao to swell, submerging 12 of the 17 villages in Pagalungan, and nine of the 11 villages in Datu Montawal.
Floodwaters displaced 8,878 families in Pagalungan, and 5,578 others in Datu Montawal, said Rirao, who coordinated with concerned government agencies in addressing the mass displacement woes.
On orders of ARMM acting Gov. Ansaruddin Alonto Adiong, ARMM’s Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Pombain Karon Kader and her relief workers immediately proceeded to the affected areas and distributed initial food assistance Thursday afternoon.
However, Kader said the distribution activities were partly delayed after the truck carrying the food assistance encountered an accident causing the vehicle to turn-turtle, prompting them to request and avail of military trucks from the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.
A total of 27 villages in four other towns of Maguindanao, and 29 villages in the 12 towns of Lanao del Sur had been submerged by floodwaters due to torrential rains brought by typhoon “Chedeng” – affecting a total of 20,446 families.