ARMM conducts simultaneous relief operations in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur
COTABATO CITY – Simultaneous relief operations were being conducted by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in 13 municipalities in Maguindano and Lanao del Sur provinces which are the most affected by the El Niño phenomenon in southern Philippines.
Atty. Laisa Alamia, ARMM Executive Secretary, said the relief assistance will help mitigate the ill effects of the drought among residents in hardest hit areas. “The focus of the regional government now is to provide their basic needs such as food, water, medicines, and seedlings,” she said.
Municipalities in Maguindanao heavily affected by the dry spell are Ampatuan, Buldon, Barira, North Upi, South Upi, Montawal, Shariff Aguak, Pagalungan, Datu Piang, and Shariff Saydona Mustapha. In Lanao del Sur, drought damage has been severe in Poona Bayabao, Taraka and Wao.
The relief distribution is a joint effort of various line agencies in the region including the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Bureau of Fire Protection, and ARMM Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team.
Reports from the Regional Planning and Development Office (RPDO) showed that 19,359 hectares planted to rice, corn and high-value commercial crops in 84 municipalities in the region with 462,740 residents have been affected by the adverse weather condition.
Atty. Alamia said a state of calamity has been declared in the provinces of Maguindanao and Basilan. She also reiterated that all the funds used for the relief operations were from the regional government and not from the national government.
During a press conference held on Thursday, April 14, Atty. Alamia, with ARMM-RPDO executive director Engr. Baintan Ampatuan, discussed to media the region’s action plan on the El Niño and La Niña weather disturbances.
Engr. Ampatuan explained that various programs and projects have been launched to benefit thousands of households affected by the extreme weather situation. Current efforts include relief distribution, information, education and communication drive on the effects of El Niño, stronger coordination with local government units, and massive seedling production in preparation for the planting season.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration earlier announced that the current drought will last until June this year and that a La Niña episode that would result in high amount of rainfall would occur between July and September.