COTABATO CITY — The Maguindanao provincial board has approved a resolution declaring the entire province under state of calamity, two board members said Tuesday.
At the same time, Provincial Board Members Bobby Katambak and Asnawi Sinsuat Limbona, said the Sangguniang Panglalawigan, through the same resolution, is asking the government to spare and protect civilians in the towns where government forces are hunting down the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Limbona said the resolution has been approved by all provincial board members and will be signed by Governor Esmael Toto Mangudadatu Wednesday.
The resolution aims to give the executive department the authority to use the provincial calamity fund for some 41,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Katambak said Gov. Mangudadatu is now attending to the needs of IDPs through relief and rehabilitation teams led by provincial budget officer Lynette Estandarte.
Earlier, the provincial board, chaired by Vice Governor Lester Sinsuat, has also passed a resolution urging the resumption of the congressional deliberation of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
The BBL is the enabling law that will create a new political entity in Mindanao that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Deliberations of the draft law has been suspended following the January 25 Mamasapano police commando operation that put down Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan” but missed his Filipino cohorts Abdul Basit Usman.
Lawyer Laisa Alamia, ARMM executive secretary and Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (ARMM-HEART) chair, said as of 5 p.m. March 3, the validated number of displaced families was 8,236 or 41,180 individuals.
They came from 11 of Maguindanao’s 36 municipalities.