COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 16, 2011) – The Philippine military deployed some 200 soldiers on Thursday to help unclog a river where tons of water lilies are threatening to flood Cotabato City in Mindanao, officials said.
Officials said the soldiers were armed with poles fitted with hooks and chain saws to cut and remove the lilies that clogged the base and columns of a bridge.
Many villages are still flooded in Cotabato because of heavy rains last week and the plants that clogged Rio Grande de Mindanao aggravated the already worsening situation in the city. Classes remain suspended in Cotabato because of the floods.
“We have sent some 200 soldiers this morning to help the local government and volunteers clean up the river,” Colonel Noel Dela Cruz, a spokesman for the 6th Infantry Division, told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
He said the regional army commander, Brigadier General Rey Ardo, was leading the troops in unclogging the river of lilies. “Our commander himself is leading the efforts and they will probably continue this drive until the river is cleared of debris,” he told The Manila Times.
The Department of Public Works and Highways is also assisting in the clean up drive.
Thousands of families have been affected by floods since last week and many of them were moved to temporary shelters. Troops were also helping in the distribution of food aid in flooded areas, the army spokesman said. (Mindanao Examiner)