OCD-ARMM on alert as winds, waves threaten Maguindanao coastal residents

The Office of Civil Defense in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OCD-ARMM) remained on alert as strong winds and heavy to moderate rains still threaten the region, officials here said.

This after about 200 houses were destroyed by huge and strong waves in three villages of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao Sunday.

Gloomy weather still hovers in Maguindanao, one of the five provinces in the ARMM.

Retired Brigadier General Manuel Ochotorina, OCD-ARMM regional executive director, said about 200 families have been affected and displaced by the phenomenon which he said was not storm surge since there was no storm.

"They were strong waves, they were not storm surge since no storm entered our area of responsibility," Ochotorina said, adding that it happened Sunday, it will happen again anytime.

"So we are on alert, we have coordinated with other concerned government agencies," he said.

The strong winds and huge waves, first time to have occurred in the coastal villages facing the Moro Gulf, destroyed shanties and houses along the shores of Kusiong and Tapian villages.

The said the displaced families are temporarily staying in their relatives' homes while the regional government is extending emergency relief assistance. Some stayed at the grounds of public schools in the two villages.

"We thought it was tsunami but there was no earthquake, the waves were extra huge," Ochotorina quoted residents as telling OCD personnel.

Lawyer Laisa Alamia, ARMM executive secretary, said personnel of HEART or Humanitarian Emergency Assistance Reaction Team are now readying relief goods for the displaced families. (PNA)