SOME 19 displaced individuals taking refuge at the De Lara Park in front of the Provincial Capitol in Cagayan de Oro City have fallen sick after days of living exposed to the elements.
The sick individuals are part of 37 Higaonon families or 180 individuals who fled their homes in Sitio Mincamansi, Banglay village in Lagonglong town last Saturday, March 29, following renewed clashes between government soldiers and the New People’s Army (NPA).
Datu Reynaldo Ayuma said they will remain at the park until the soldiers leave their community to avoid getting caught in the crossfire.
“Naa gyud buto-buto among nadunggan so naa gyud encounter (We could hear explosions),” Ayuma said.
Ayuma said some 15 children have been suffering indigestion and fever perhaps because of the weather and because of the water they are using for drinking.
The evacuees have been in the park for nearly a week which tents and mats only served as their protection from the cold weather and mosquitoes especially during night time.
He said the Provincial Government have been supplying them with enough food but the downpour was their main concern.
“Ok ra ang supply pero ang problema kung mag-ulan kay magbaha man unya naghilanat og kalibanga na mga bata tungod pud tingali sa tubig nga wala nila naandan. Gusto pud unta mi sa moskitiro batok sa lamok (We have enough supplies but the rains continue to be a problem as children are getting sick. The water may also be causing the sickness as we are not used to the water hare. We also need mosquito nets),” Ayuman said.
In the report submitted by Jocelyn Tagarao, the nurse from the Provincial Health Office (PHO) tasked to monitor the health condition of the evacuees, there were 19 individuals aged nine months to 45 years old claiming to have fever, cough, diarrhea, asthma, and stomach ache.
Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Emano has ordered his personnel to attend to the basic needs of the evacuees.
Ayuman said this is their third time using the Capitol grounds as their shelter because of the armed conflict in their community.
He expressed his disappointment towards the military who did not keep to the agreement not to stay longer in their village.
“Naa verbal agreement sauna nga nag ok sila nga igo lang sila molabay ug dili magpondo but ilang gihimo nagpondo sila sa lugar maong nag-decide mi nga mamakwit (We had a verbal agreement which only allows soldiers to pass by our village. But the soldiers stayed prompting the evacuation of residents),” Ayuma said.
“Nananghid pa mi sa mga sundalo nga mohawa mi kay dili man sila mohawa (We asked permission from the soldiers to leave because they wold not leave),” he added.
Ayuma wants the verbal agreement translated into a written document to be signed by both parties including the provincial government officials.
“Ang among panawagan nga mohawa na ang mga sundalo ug unta padayon ang dialogue para makab-ot ang among demand (We are calling on the soldiers to leave and we hope for a dialogue so that our demands can be met),” Ayuma said.
He said all of them who left their houses, livestock and crops will return and start anew with nothing.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 06, 2017.