By Ali G. Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – The regional autonomous government, through its disaster risk reduction and management council (DRRMC), is carrying out two-phase interventions worth P2.9-billion for the early recovery and rehabilitation of people and places affected by the recent onslaught of Tropical Storm Paeng in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
In a press conference here on Wednesday, Nov. 16, BARMM spokesperson and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo hinted that the allocation for the entire interventions has been approved by interim Chief Minister Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim to be derived alone from the available funds of the regional government for 2021 and 2022.
Sinarimbo said the Bangsamoro DRRMC, chaired by the chief minister, classified the interventions into two phases: An early recovery stage; and a full rehabilitation and recovery phase.
Of the P2,900,580,989.02 approved fiscal investment, P1,069,198,489.02 was earmarked for the first phase, which covers nine clusters: building of temporary evacuation centers for evacuees staying in schools; restoration of lifelines; livelihood recovery; welfare of dead and missing; addressing health outbreaks; resumption of classes; environmental remedies; administrative operations; and other support services, a program table showed.
The remnant of the sum will be spent for the second phase, which would entail a long-ranged intervention to include building of permanent abodes in pre-identified safe areas for families, whose houses were destroyed in the typhoon, among other rehabilitation and full-recovery measures, it was learned.
Sinarimbo said the early recovery phase actually commenced as soon as typhoon Paeng hit the region on Oct. 28 and will culminate until February next year.
The formulation of the two-phase interventions, notably the early recovery stage, entailed workshop-meetings on Nov. 8-12. The first meeting was presided over by the Chief Minister on Nov. 8, during which he formed a cluster of ministries and agencies to carry out the enabling tasks.
The cluster is composed of Ministries of Social Services and Development; Public Works; Human Settlement; Basic, Higher and Technical Education; Trade, Investments and Tourism; Environment, Natural Resources and Energy; Indigenous People’s Affairs; Health; Transportation and Communication; Labor and Employment; and Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform.
The Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority, and the Bangsamoro Information Office were included in the cluster.
Prior to the cluster formation, the chief minister had ordered a comprehensive assessment on the havoc spawned by the tropical storm in the region, and the initial results shaped the specific tasks programmed in the interventions.
Initial assessments showed that typhoon Paeng gripped 498 barangays in Maguindanao del Norte, Maguindanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Lanao del Sur, Cotabato City and the special geographical area in North Cotabato.
The typhoon affected 226,333 families involving 574,725 individuals across the region, and the accruing landslides and flash floods had left 63 people and scores injured. Most of the casualties were in the Maguindanao provinces where at least six bridges were destroyed.
Data provided by the Bangsamoro RDRRMC and echoed at Wednesday’s press conference showed P273-million worth of damages in agriculture-fisheries sector; P359 million on infrastructures; and P48 million in small scale business sector.
On the early recovery sector, Sinarimbo said, P4 million was earmarked for planting of trees in deforested areas, in which typhoon Paeng-spawned landslides swept dozens of houses such as those of Mt. Minandar’s foot in barangay Kusiyong, Datu Odin Sinsuat town, Maguindanao del Norte. (AGM)