THE Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm) is eyeing to enlist the assistance of some former combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to strengthen its Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) programs.
Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, minister of Local Government, said they will create a community-based monitoring and response for disaster incidence with the help of some of the MILF former combatants.
“Because we have signed a peace agreement with the MILF and majority of their people will be undertaking the process of normalization, we will be able to utilize some of these people so that we can build a community-based preparedness and response for disasters,” Sinarimbo said.
He said they will re-channel the combatants’ energy and skills into new frontiers like to become emergency responders.
For instance, he said, to address the decades old flooding in the town of Datu Salibo, Maguindano, they will ask some of the former combatants to help clear the water ways of around 11 bridges.
“Only one of it has its water running. The other 10, the water is almost stagnant, therefore causing the flood in the roads,” he explained.
Sinarimbo said they are also working out a system for the deployment of some members of the MILF to watch over the bridges in Cotabato City – the Quirino, Matampay, and Tamontaka bridges.
“We will deploy some people there, and their work is to simply ensure that the water hyacinth will not clog the bridges, which would normally cause flooding in the city,” he said.
“The potential for maximizing the utilization of some of the former MILF combatants brings instrumental benefit to many of the communities in our program for preventing disaster from happening. We hope to repeat this in some other areas where we have their forces,” he said.
Meanwhile, Barmm is eyeing to strengthen its DRRM by allocating five percent of the its annual block grant to help fund the management’s programs.
“We are in the process of preparing the budget of the different ministries for 2020 with the anticipation of the operationalization of the block grant in the autonomous region,” Sinarimbo said.
The Ministry of Local Government serves as the secretariat of the region’s new emergency and disaster response office – the Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (Readi-Barmm). (Bong Garcia/SunStar Philippines)