By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Monday’s conflagration in Jolo, Sulu has drawn pledges of assistance for victims and sympathy from various sectors, including the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and the Bangsamoro autonomous government.
The NCMF has launched a drive to collect used clothing, non-perishable and easy to cook food, water, and other basic necessities for dispatch to hundreds of families affected by the fire that gutted houses in at least four villages in Jolo, agency spokesman Jun Alonto-Datu Ramos announced on Monday night.
Datu Ramos said NCMF Secretary Saidamen Pangarungan has asked all their regional offices across the country to collect donations, and extend also their extra resources with the fire-displaced families.
Citing initial report from NCMF-Region 9-B Director Kenny Tan, he said nine residents were injured and brought to the Sulu Provincial Hospital, while most of the displaced dwellers at Barangays Chinese Pier, Tulay, Zones 1 to 4 have been sheltered at the Laud Hassiman Elementary School and Plaza Tulay, and Santanina Complex, all in Jolo.
For its part, the Bangsamoro government will assist quick response and social welfare groups in Sulu to attend to the needs of the fire victims, according to a report attributed to Chief Minister Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim.
Trained workers of the autonomous government’s Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READI) program, through their regular “Tabang” mission, were set to travel to Jolo and bring in truckloads of relief goods in coordination with Jolo municipal and Sulu provincial authorities.
“We commiserate with our brethren in Jolo who are victims in the conflagration,” Bangasamoro spokesman Naguib Sinarimbo said in Facebook post Monday night.
Sinarimbo, concurrent regional Local Government minister, echoed Chief Minister Ebrahim’s announcement on the eventual dispatch of a big relief team to Jolo this week. The READI program has been placed under the supervision of Sinarimbo’s ministry.
Both the NCMF and regional autonomous government were reportedly conducting surveys on the actual number of displaced families and their immediate needs prior to the dispatch of their respective assistance.
Initial reports from Sulu police and civilian authorities led by Governor Sakur Tan said the fire broke out past 9a.m. Monday from still undetermined origin and swiftly gutted houses made of light materials in Barangays Chinese Pier, Tulay, and Zones 1 to 4.
In a published report, Tan said most of the dwellers in the four villages were “poor people” and they “would require utmost assistance”.