Navy’s arrival brings Cabilao survivors rice, relief, at last-A A +A
Monday, October 21, 2013
CABILAO ISLAND, Bohol—Relief goods finally reached several island barangays in four towns of Bohol Province yesterday.
For residents of Cabilao, an island off Loon town with five barangays, this meant they could finally eat some rice for the first time since a 7.2 magnitude quake shook their community last Tuesday.
“Salamat kaayo sa ilang gidala, duna na gyod mi bugas. Maayo na man lang gani nga duna mi linung-ag nga kulo aron makasustinir (Thank you so much to those who brought help; at least we now have some rice. We’ve had only boiled bread fruit to sustain ourselves),” said Sofia Villano, a resident of Barangay Cambaquiz in Cabilao Island.
Sofia used to make P15 per trip as a dispatcher in the Cabilao port. She and her fisherman-husband have four children.
The Bohol Provincial Government estimated that about 5,000 families, including the Villanos, received the help delivered by the Philippine Navy in Central Visayas.
“We need to deliver the goods as fast as we can. It is their immediate need,” said ENS Jaypee Abuan, Public Information Officer of the Philippine Navy.
He said their vessels are standing by, ready to transport relief goods to the affected areas.
More than 370,000 persons (78,585 families) were displaced by the quake in Bohol Province alone, the government’s national disaster council reported.
At least 185 persons were confirmed killed during the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol, Cebu and four other provinces in Regions 6 and 7.
The Office of Civil Defense in Central Visayas, however, reported a higher death toll of 186.
In its latest bulletin as of 6:30 p.m. Sunday, the agency said 172 died in Bohol. Most were killed after getting hit by falling structures as the quake caused landslides, toppled buildings and damaged century-old churches.
Fifty-four died in Loon town alone.
Nine people remained missing. Rescuers continued to comb through mountains of debris in many quake-stricken towns, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRCMC).
For Loida Lapez, whose husband left Cabilao Island for Manila to look for a job, live after the quake has not been easy.
“Magpundok mi sa among mga silingan aron magdungan ug kaon (My neighbors and I gather together to share meals),” said Lapez.
They’ve had to wait longer than other communities for help to arrive. “Labangon man ug dagat ang amoa, lisod ang pag-abot dayon sa pagkaon (People have to cross the sea to get to us, so it takes time for the food to arrive),” said Lapez.
Aside from fishing, the tourist traffic that used to sustain the five barangays on the island has stopped since the quake.
Government teams who were sent to deliver help had to deal with different constraints. In isolated areas like Loon and other island barangays, air and sea transport are still the means of distributing relief goods.
During low tide, motor bancas are used to bring relief goods from the Navy’s boats to the shores, where residents waited.
Boat captain PO2 Emelito Mejares said he anchored their vessel near the shore, to make it easier for residents to get the goods.
“Nalipay mi naglantaw nga naay niabot nga hinabang (We were all so happy to see the help arriving),” Lapez said.
Bohol Province has asked the Navy to help, because using small bancas only will delay the distribution of water, food and other essential supplies.
As of yesterday, the Naval Forces Central (Navforcen) already deployed 10 vessels to Bohol, including one of the Philippine Navy’s largest, the BRP Bacolod from Manila.
A Philippine Navy vessel, DF 354, transported a total of 340 sacks of relief goods yesterday. Each sack contains 15 packs of goods.
80 from Cebu
For its part, the Cebu City Government has sent an 80-man team to Bohol to help in the relief operations and give medical assistance to the affected families.
City Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC) operation officer Alvin Santillana said the team is composed of 30 doctors and 50 other medical personnel and nurses.
They serve with the City Health Department, Rotary Club International and the All-Terrain Medical and Relief Operation (Amro). Along with them are several members of the City’s LDRRMC, including its executive director Sim Romarate.
“The group was formed because Amro saw there are many problems in Bohol and they need more attention compared to Cebu City, kay mas dako ang damage sa ilaha (the suffered more damage),” said Santillana.
They brought with them 18 4x4 vehicles for the distribution of relief goods from the GMA Kapuso Foundation.
“Aside from being doctors, they are hobbyists in driving 4x4 vehicles, so they can transport relief goods even in areas with badly damaged roads,” said Santillana.
He said the 80-man team’s target is to help 25,000 affected individuals in Bohol through their relief and medical missions.
The team, Santillana said, will be in Bohol for four days.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 21, 2013.