Philippines: Government declares state of calamity in embattled Lanao del Sur province

Tropical storm Tembin or Vinta
Tropical storm Tembin or Vinta approaching Southern Philippines NASA GODDARD MODIS RAPID RESPONSE TEAM

The law-making council of Lanao del Sur province on Friday, December 29, has introduced a motion to declare the Province of Lanao del Sur under a state of calamity.

The province hit by tropical storm Tembin caused a number of mudslides that led to the death of 20 people.The deadly storm converted communities into floating villages in Mindanao and the death toll in this island- region has reached more than 200, as of this week.

Lanao del Sur Governor Soraya Adiong on Friday lauded the law-making council for unanimously voting in favour of the declaration of state calamity.

After declaring a state of calamity in the province, the provincial government can maximize the delivery of relief services to thousands of displaced residents hit by the tropical storm.The declaration will also empower the local government to prevent business establishments from increasing the price of basic commodities and victimizing displaced civilians.

Moreover, officials also said that they have begun to deploy nurses and other health personnel to different evacuation centers to provide basic health care services.

Provincial Health Officer Allen Minalang said that the health team distributed medicines to residents with ailments and continues to conduct medical outreach missions in these evacuation centers.

Earlier, Lanao del Sur also faced a tough challenge when 800 ISIS-inspired militants stormed the province's capital, Marawi City. Marawi was devastated after thousands of soldiers and 800 militants engaged in a five-month-long heavy firefight that damaged thousands of residential houses.

After the battle from May to October 2017, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared that Marawi City is now free from ISIS-militants.

Lanao del Sur Province is one of the Philippines' poorest provinces and both the tropical storm and the Marawi siege have worsened its economic conditions. The province is also known as the cradle of ISIS-inspired organizations which the government is struggling to suppress.

Lanao del Sur has 39 municipalities and one city and the sole City (Marawi) is also known as the only Islamic City in the Philippines.