FLOODED ZONES. A police officer stands at the entrance of the police station in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao (left), amid the rampaging floodwaters that submerged communities in Barangay Poblacion, Pagalungan, Maguindanao. Of the 11 areas flooded in the province, only the town of Datu Montawal has so far declared a state of calamity as of Tuesday (July 19, 2022). (Photos courtesy of Salibo and Pagalungan LGUs)

COTABATO CITY – Datu Montawal town in Maguindanao has been placed under a state of calamity due to massive flooding in its 11 villages, affecting some 5,200 families.

Balumol Cadiding, municipal disaster risk reduction and management officer, said Tuesday the floods also destroyed crops but the extent of damage has yet to be determined.

“Even the town center is underwater when the Pulangi River overflowed due to weather disturbances upstream,” Cadiding said, referring to frequent heavy downpours in Bukidnon and North Cotabato.

He said the calamity declaration would allow the town to use its calamity fund to cushion the impact of flooding and to help farmers recover from the losses on crops.

In nearby Pagalungan town, all of its 12 barangays were also affected by waist-deep floods. Some people left their homes and moved beside the highway but many still prefer to stay claiming when the rains stop, floods will recede.

Ben Alip, municipal disaster officer, said crop damage, based on the town’s agriculture office report, was estimated at PHP20 million.

In Datu Salibo, officials said the floodwaters started to recede Tuesday, leaving thick mud in the flooded areas. Even the town police's office was flooded by up to knee-level water.

The Maguindanao provincial disaster office also reported that floods submerged low-lying areas of Northern Kabuntalan, Sultan sa Barongis, Datu Piang, Mamasapano, Rajah Buayan, Guindulungan, Talayan, Talitay and Datu Odin Sinsuat.

Since July 16, bad weather prevailed over the province. (PNA)