Last weekend, June 26, 2011, Bariles and a group of 9 other young men and women, all members of the Soccsksargen Bloggers traveled to Cotabato City to see for themselves the damage brought about by the massive floods caused by a series of typhoons.
They left General Santos City in a van a little before noon for Cotabato, took a quick lunch at Tupi’s famous Nadie’s Chicken before proceeding to the capital of Central Mindanao.
While traversing the highways of Sultan Kudarat, signs of the devastation were still visible to them. What used to be farmlands are now submerged in flood waters. Makeshift tents of the displaced families, mostly Muslims line up the roadsides.
Upon reaching Cotabato City, they lost no time in proceeding to Delta Bridge on Rio Grande river. The bridge and that of the Tamontaka River was just recently cleared of about six hectares of water hyacinths which have earlier raised the water’s level and thus causing the worst flood in the history of the city and in Central Mindanao in the ARMM.
The water hyacinths exacerbated the floods which submerged more than 200 villages in Central Mindanao, displacing more than 600,000 persons, majority of them poor Muslims who have been relying heavily on inland water fishing and farming.
At the time that the group got there, they were able to talk to City Administrator Atty. Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi. According to her, under the water hyacinths is silt of up to three meters which made it even harder to break down into small chunks.
Her brother, Mayor Jojo Guiani‘s house which lies beside the river bank was also among those which were heavily flooded. Not even the city’s oldest and biggest educational institution, Notre Dame of Cotabato University was spared as this photo below shows.
The group visited the evacuation centers at Central Pilot Elementary School and at the Barangay RH5 where they met and interviewed a few families who have not still gone back to their homes.
Signs of support to Mayor Guiani were posted everywhere, from the major thoroughfares to the evacuation centers themselves. This was in reaction to the controversy arising from the Mayor’s interview on TV re the national government’s seemingly slow response to their needs and the President’s lack of concrete solution to the perennial flooding problem. As we all know, this further resulted to P-noy and his secretaries ganging up on Mayor Guiani who was just expressing his sentiment and those of his constituents.
The day before the bloggers arrived in Cotabato, the 37-strong Liga ng mga Barangay crossed party lines and signed a Manifesto in support of their mayor. The Manifesto also disputed the report of DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman that she has already released P79 million to the flood victims during her report to the President on June 22 during his visit. According to the Barangay captains, DSWD has only started distributing help on June 23, 2011, 10 days after the floods started and revealed that earlier, on June 18, 2011, DSWD-12 has only released 100 sacks to the Cotabato City LGU.
The manifesto also thanked those who have sent help to the flood victims, through the LGU namely Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, Chiz Escudero, Representatives Lani Mercado, Manny Pacquiao, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, Davao Vice Mayor Rudy Duterte, Davao City SP’s and other local and national NGOs, foreign aid agencies including the United Nations.
City Administrator Atty. Cynthia Guiani also informed the bloggers that despite all these “miscommunication“, the Local Government of Cotabato through Mayor Jojo, is still doing all it can to alleviate the problem and to assist all of those affected by the calamity.
“We will continue to do what we can and all kinds of help are welcome. Hopefully this episode will pass and everyone will get down to working together to finally find a solution to this decades-old problem besetting Cotabato City and its rivers. We should be above politics in all these.“, she concluded.
To this we say, Amen.
Check out the articles of the other Sox Bloggers by clicking on their links below..
- Cotabato Flood Victims
- Lessons to learn from the Cotabato Flood
- Cotabato City Flood
- Cotabato Flood – Concerted Efforts Needed
- Cotabato City Flooding Operations
Here are videos taken by GenSan Boy and from the Cotabato Bloggers Facebook Page.
All photos on this blogpost are courtesy of GenSan News Online Mag Inhouse Photographer Marz and the Facebook page of the Cotabato Bloggers.
If you want to send your donations to the Cotabato City flood victims, please call this cellphone #0909-685-3333 and look for Mr. Cris Sodusta, a Sox Blogger who works as a volunteer worker of the LGU.
[…] the Shariff Kabunsuan Festival, the city which has bounced back wonderfully from the floods that hit it earlier this year, under the able stewardship of Mayor Jojo Guiani, has left no stone […]
in reply to ariel, please be informed that Cotabato City is a component city of Maguindanao. Tamontaka Bridge and Quirino bridge are being maintained by the DPWH of Maguindanao and Region 12.
At para mo rin malaman, kaming mga barangay officials, ay nauna sa “bayanihan” upang tanggalin ang water lily na ito. Nauna pa ang mga barangay kumilos sa pamumuno ng aming Mayor. Hindi lang nitong Bagyo Egay. Subalit, nung hektarya na ang water lily na dumating sa delta bridge, in a span on only 3 days, talagang, di na kaya sabagka’t napaka kati ng tubig at nagkaka blisters ang mga taong lumusong sa tubig.
Hindi isyu ng pera ang pinag ugatan ng issue between PNOY at ng aming Mayor. It is an issue kung yun bang sinasabi ng DSWD 12 ay nakarating sa mga mamamayan ng city or hindi. Tulad na lang ng mga naireport daw na mga ukay ukay na ipinamigay daw sa mga tao. Walang natanggap na ganun ang mga evacuees. Hanggang ngayon. Alam ko dahil ako ay isang HOMEBASED na evacuee. At dahil dito, buong suporta ng Liga ng Barangay ay ibinigay kay Mayor sa pagsasabi ng katotohanan. Palagay ko, mas magmumukhang sinungaling si Mayor sa mga Cotabateno na siyang humalal sa kanya, kung sasabihin nya na natanggap ng mga evacuees yun samantalang at the time the report was made, wala naman pala.
Sa pagkakaalam naming mga taga barangay, ngayon lang sa pamumuno ni mayor guiani nakatanggap ng relief goods ang mga tulad naming HOMEBASED evacuees sapagka’t ito ay ipinamigay ng City Government. At una din umaksyon ang City Government. Saka lang naman umaksyon ang DSWD nung parating na si PNOY sa Cotabato City. Kahit yun mga tent nila at ng iba pang ahensiya ay mabilisan nilang itinayo nung parating si PNOY. Taga Cotabato City ako at isa sa apektado ng baha kaya dapat lang na ipaliwanag ko ito para maintindihan ninyo.
True, sana di mangyari sa tin yan, but that area in silway and calumpang are really prone to flashflood as what happened several years back bat di naman kagaya sa nangyari sa Davao at cotabato, nga pala san ba nangaling yung sandamakmak na tubig sa bumaha sa davao, sa cotabato kasi talgang the city there is in the middle of the large rio grande de mindanao, di kataka taka but in davao? ewan baka talagang grabe na ang talag ang ulan sa region na yun kaya binaha na talaga….
this was really an eye-opener for everyone (including the flood in davao)… tsk, tsk, tsk… God bless us all…
Let’s pray it won’t happen here in General Santos City. 🙂
i feel sad for the plight of our muslim brothers in Cotabato City, i think officials of the city governemnt of CC is also to blame, pinabayaan nila na dumami ng ganyan ang water hyacinth, the said plants didnt just appear overnight, took time for it to occupy vast area of the river, so if their local officals took care of it, yun bang konti pa lang na napopondo sa isang sulok ng ilog ay tinatanggal na di yan dadami ng ganyan, eh hinayaan nila, yan tuloy ekta ektarya na ang water hyacinth…tas they all are pointing fingers sa kapabayaan nila galit pa dahil di raw nagbigay ng datung si Pinoy sa kanila ng bisitahin sila…
hay naku nga naman tong mga to…gusto parati get ng get dont lke to work but get ng get na lang,or reiceve ng recieve na lang kelan ba magbabago yan sistema nila…the ones suffering are their poorest of the poor constituents…
Energy Conservation…..everyone should commit for Mother Earth!
So, you went here in the city pala 🙂 Sayang we haven’t got the chance to meet in person.
Tsk! Tsk! Oh, blame it all to climate change, not the hyacinths! And we’re all contributory to it – not only the farmers wanting to expand their farms by kaingins but most especially the industrial companies who put up buildings replacing trees then later expelling their wastes to the air (& water) and we ourselves because these industrial companies want to please us by producing more and more of our wants and demands… and so on… oh, we also blame it to the population explosion (more trees to fell to produce food and make shelter, more industrial companies & vehicles to expel carbon dioxide, more aircons in homes & companies because it’s getting hotter & hotter each day & the vicious cycle goes on and on…)! So climate change is getting worse and worst everyday and the Philippines is one country to blame. See? We’re starting to suffer our own actions by not caring at all. There are no hyacinths in the south of Thailand with the recent flash-floods but experts all blame it to climate change. But, yes, the hyacinths (and wastes in Cotabato) did make the condition worse! And we can just sympathize with the victims but the biting global reality is, we’re all creating our own doom with materialism and our love for convenience. I for one am guilty!
So sad to see these people of Cotabato City & other areas of North Cotabato are suffering from this calamities. I have a friend in that area where his house were also eaten by flood. It’s their first time to experienced this kind of calamities after so many years of staying “comfortably” in Cotabato City.
Lucky we are here in GenSan that we have been passed by from this disaster. Hopefully our City Gov’t could make concrete plans in anticipation of what other cities (recently in Matina, Davao City) are currently experiencing now. Climate change & it is now happening.