By Ali G. Macabalang
Close to 55,000 families affected by floods alone in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao have received relief goods from the BARMM’s Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READI) program in 2020, according to a report to the Office of the Chief Minister (OCM).
The report dated Dec. 7, 2020 obviously excluded relief aids provided for flood victims during Dec. 8-31 period.
As of Dec. 7, the report said, a total of 75,933 households had been affected by flood in the region, 43, 369 of which were still earmarked with READI food packages regularly containing 12 kilos of rice, 12 canned sardines, sanitary soap bars, and other basic each.
The READI program is a special emergency response unit of the OCM related to the Ministry of Interior and Local Government’s (MILG’s) direct management.
The OCM directly sustains another special project – Ayudang Medikal mula sa Bangsamoro Government (AMBAG) Program –that has so far served 8,552 indigent constituents during the 12-month operation of the venture recokened in November 2019.
Under the AMBAG project, the OCM shoulders at least P10,000 worth of hospital bills by indigents. But the Bureau of Public Information (now Bangsamoro Information Office) said the program had extended P50,000 aid to Pelagio Ado, a 51-year old traffic enforcer of South Upi, Maguindanao who needed over P100,000 worth of medication after an almost-fatal road accident.
The READI program regularly stages major relief dispatch for needing families in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi provinces, the cities of Marawi, Cotabato and Lamitan, and the 63 villages in North Cotabato, all components of BARMM. It extends minor dispatches in areas outside BARMM on requests of calamity-gripped families.
The READI’s first batch of major relief distribution started on Sept. 17, 2020, catering to some 13,000 households in the Pigcawayan and Midsayap, North Cotabato. Eachflood-affected household got an average of 10 kilos of rice and canned goods, the OCM report said.
READI workers staged the second wave of the distribution on October 5- 9, serving a total of 17, 232 households from the barangays of Batulawan, Balungis, Dunguan, Tapodoc, Pikit, Gokotan, Nabuntas, Nalapaan, Panicupan, Bualan, Manaulanan, Pamalian, Macasandeg in Pikit, North Cotabato. Each family got a similar quantity of goods, the report said.
After typhoon Rolly hit the country on October 26, some areas in Maguindanao and Lanao Del Sur were also affected by flooding brought by heavy rainfall, prompting another wave of READI relief missions.
The MILG, Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD), alongside Provincial and Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officers (P/MDRRMOs) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) also conducted several coordination meetings to monitor the situation in flash flood-affected communities in BARMM.
Data from the READI program showed many communities in the provinces of Sulu, Lamitan , Basilan and Cotabato City felt the onslaught of typhoons Rolly and Quint, the regional information office said.
Since last October 20, more than 70 barangays in Central Mindanao were flooded after the overflowing of 220,000-hectare Liguasan Delta, following torrential rains in mountain ranges around it.
The most affected barangays were in interior areas in adjoining towns of Pagalungan and Montawal in Maguindanao and in nearby Pikit and Kabacan in North Cotabato.
MILG Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, who supervises the READI program, said most of the flood-affected communities around the Liguasan Marsh were served with relief goods by boats due to inaccessibility of roads during inundation time. AGM