Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Food getting scarce in flooded Cotabato City

COTABATO CITY, Philippines -- The supply of food for flood victims here is running out as floodwaters continue to rise, a city hall official said Friday.

At least 15,000 people were displaced after the swollen Rio Grande de Mi
ndanao submerged 90 percent of the city.

Floodwaters from the swollen river, which stretches from Agusan and is considered Mindanao’s longest body of water, was made worse by the entry of seawater during high tide.

Eduardo dela Fuente, Mayor Muslimin Sema’s secretary, said the stock of food was good only for a few days unless replenishment arrives.

Dela Fuente explained that each family receives about three kilograms of rice, five cans of sardines and two noodles every two days, which drains the stock intended for relief assistance.

“Every two days the city disaster office is spending some P800,000. The funds are dwindling but relief goods come in trickles,” Dela Fuente said.

He said the city was likely to stop distributing food to the victims unless donations come in.

Dela Fuente said there are organizations, such as the GMA Foundation, which promised to deliver food.

He said the two tons of food packs donated by GMA Foundation were being kept at the Villamor Airbase because there were no planes available to ship them out.

The Archdiocese of Cotabato and other groups also put up feeding programs for the displaced families.

But Dela Fuente said these would definitely not last long without more donations.

Government engineers said only the dredging of the Rio Grande could drain water flooding the city’s more than 30 villages, but it may take some time.

Water lilies have blocked at least a six-hectare area in the river.

“We are working double time here, we need volunteers who own chainsaws that could be used to cut the water lilies into chunks so it can be carried by water current to the seas,” Col. Rolito Abad, commander of the Army’s 603rd Infantry Brigade, said.

Abad heads the “Task Force Water Lilies,” a body formed to clear the river of these obstructions.

Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane, who visited Cotabato City on Thursday, said two dredgers were waiting to be brought here from Davao City.

But Sema said he was told it would take a week to tow the dredgers from Davao.

Two persons had already died from the floods.

The latest fatality was a nine-year-old girl, who drowned in a swollen creek in the village of Poblacion 9 here on Tuesday.

Senior Superintendent Willie Dangane, city police director, said Rose Rakma was playing with other children when she was swept by the raging waters.

“Her body was retrieved hours later in another village,” he said.

The girl became the second victim of drowning since the floods spawned by Typhoon “Frank” (international codename: Fenshen) hit the city.

Last week, a wheelchair-bound elderly woman also drowned when flood submerged her home in the village of Rosary Heights here.

As this developed, the Sangguniang Panlungsod, chaired by Vice Mayor Japal Guiani Jr., has approved the release of P2 million from the city’s calamity funds to distribute food to some 20,000 residents displaced by the floods.

The SP also set aside P1 million for medicine purchase.

Guiani also urged village officials to use their five percent calamity fund to augment the calamity budget from the city government.

As of Friday, classes remained suspended in schools here.(By Edwin Fernandez, Nash Maulana, Charlie SeƱase; INQ.net)

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