Cotabato City —The continuous heavy downpour in recent days has slowed delivery of food assistance to flooded communities in Cotabato Province by humanitarian volunteers of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Earlier, BARMM Executive Secretary Abdulraof Macacua, along with Interior and Local Governments Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, Social Services and Development Minister Raissa Jajurrie, and Agriculture Fisheries and Land Reform Minister Mohammad Yacob, headed the region’s humanitarian deployment to two flooded Maguindanao towns, Pagalungan and Datu Montawal.
BARMM workers of the Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READI) had to navigate the old Pulangi River (colonial name: Rio Grande) on boats transporting rice sacks to riverside and mid-marsh communities deeply submerged in floodwater.
Sinarimbo said heavy rains, silted rivers, and mass build-up of water hyacinth underneath bridges had made upstream navigation too rough in reaching communities isolated by floods.
Central Mindanao waterways have overflowed lately due to the downpours triggered by Typhoon “Quinta” over the weekend, and weather forecasts on Wednesday reported the landfall of a tropical depression, now named Typhoon “Rolly.”
Mohammad Kelly Antao, a resident of the area, said recipients were thankful after receiving food supplies in communities isolated by floods from vast river overflows.
Antao is a former board member of Cotabato Province and currently BARMM provincial coordinator for the 63 barangays of the province that now form part of the autonomous region.
“The (BARMM-READI) Team braved bad weather (and the alarming risks of) accident, that just the other day one of our delivery trucks fell off a ravine in Aleosan, Cotabato,” Sinarimbo said.
Evelyn Estorquia, BARMM READi director, said the driver of the dump truck loaded with sacks of rice, had apparently lost control of his steering that it fell off a ravine amid heavy rains, as it negotiated a sharp curve in Aleosan town on October 25.
Dwellers of the flooded communities welcomed the BARMM waterway humanitarian mission with occasional chants of “Mabuhay ang Moral Governance” in apparent reference to the Bangsamoro slogan of governance.
Resident Akas Mingkael was overheard saying out loud “Mabuhay ang BARMM, mabuhay ang administrator ng 63 barangays,” referring to Antao.
Sinarimbo said the BARMM Interior Ministry had acquired an outboard speedboat to better serve inhabited areas of inland Ligawasan Marsh.
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