SRO suspended as hope dims for 'missing' victims of 'Paeng' in Maguindanao

COTABATO CITY – Officials of the search and rescue operations (SRO) in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao had given up hope to retrieve at least 12 people who had reportedly gone missing during the onslaught of Tropical Storm ‘Paeng’ in Maguindanao.

AN aerial shot of Barangay Kusiong in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao following the landslide on Friday. (Photo courtesy of the Bangsamoro government)

BARMM Interior and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, who heads the BARMM-Rapid Emergency Assistance on Disaster Incidence 9READI), ordered the suspension of the search and rescue operations as hopes dimmed for the possible retrieval of the missing persons one week after ‘Paeng’ inundated several villages of Maguindanao, Lanao and this city.

Sinarimbo instead directed disaster officials to focus on relief operations and rehabilitation in the typhoon-stricken areas.

At least 53 people have died while 570,000 people were displaced in 470 villages affected by the flooding brought about by the typhoon.

More than 30,000 people are currently housed in several evacuation centers in Maguindanao.

Damage to agriculture was placed at P247 million, affecting some 14,000 hectares of high value crops, rice and corn.

Local disaster officials estimated the damage on infrastructure to be around P359 million.

President Marcos Jr. visited Maguindanao province a few days back to personally assess the situation and talked with local officials.

Marcos noted the lack of coordination among BARMM officials and local government units in disaster response.

The President urged BARMM regional executives and local officials of Maguindanao to put their acts together by pooling their assets and resources for effective and efficient response during their disaster and calamities.