Life in Bohol towns getting back to normal-A A +A
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
CEBU CITY -- Although few have dared to rebuild their houses barely two weeks after the October 15 earthquake, commerce and recreation in the towns of Inabanga, Tubigon and Clarin in Bohol are almost back to normal.
Shops and stores in the three northern Bohol towns, which were untouched or slightly damaged by 7.2-magnitude earthquake, reopened last week; gas stations did the same. Bank automatic teller machines (ATMs) in Tubigon and Inabanga have been operational since last Saturday.
During the weekend, some residents -- mostly men -- flocked to cockfighting arenas in Inabanga to engage in their favorite recreation.
Some residents chose to earn a living: A woman, who lost her house to the earthquake and now lives in a makeshift tent in Tubigon, reopened her stall at the town plaza to sell hotcakes. Stores that sell Bohol delicacies like kalamay have been open for more than a week as residents and relief volunteers flock to the shores of Tubigon.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has repaired most of the damaged roads and bridges in Bohol so public transportation is back to normal. Vehicles going to Tagbilaran City, though, still have to use the interior road network passing through Sagbayan, Batuan and Corella.
Residents in Inabanga and Clarin get free water from a mobile water treatment facility of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) set up on the Nahawan Bridge, which sits on the boundary of the two towns.
LWUA mobile water treatment team leader 2LT Emougene Ocampo said the facility, which is built into a truck, produces 15 gallons of drinking water per minute.
The facility puts water from the Tubuhan River through seven stages of purification, said Ocampo, adding that this is more thorough than most commercial water purifying stations.
The process is powered by a generator set that consumes diesel fuel.
Clarin Mayor Allen Rey Piezas vowed to provide fuel to the LWUA mobile water treatment facility as Ocampo said their fuel provisions are good for only three to five days.
The LWUA facility has been parked on Nahawan Bridge since last Thursday, giving free drinking water to anyone who would come with their containers.
Piezas said the local government deployed a water tanker to distribute water from the LWUA facility to residents. He added that this was part of the relief operations of the Municipal Government.
The mayor told Sun.Star Cebu last Sunday that he has deployed personnel to assess damaged houses, buildings, schools and municipal roads.
After the relief operations, he said, the Municipal Government will have to tackle repair and rehabilitation. He added that the earthquake damaged about P350 million worth of property and infrastructure, including churches, classrooms, roads and bridges.
The mayor said the earthquake affected more than 5,400 families in Clarin.
Piezas said that since rehabilitation of earthquake-damaged facilities is more important, the Municipal Government will have to defer some projects in its 2013 Annual Investment Plan. This is because savings from the local calamity fund from 2011, 2012 and this year only reached P1.5 million and only about P700,000 have remained after relief operations spending.
He said the issue will be discussed by the Municipal Development Council soon. He said municipal government offices resumed work Monday.
In Sitio Makigdait, Barangay Rufo Hill in Buenavista town, eight-year-old Krissa Sentino narrated how the earth nearly swallowed her on October 15.
She accompanied her mother that morning to wash clothes in the river, located about a kilometer from their house. When the ground started shaking, cracks appeared on the river bed, which spewed black liquid.
Sentino said her foot fell into a fissure that appeared where she was standing. A cousin ran to her and grabbed her hair to save her.
Sentino said she did not feel the pain of her hair being pulled, only fear. Her mother and her neighbors, who were also supposed to do their laundry, left some of the clothes on the river in their haste.
Last Sunday, Sentino returned to river for the first time. The fissure on the riverbed had been eroded and no longer visible. But the crack on the riverbank, which she feared would swallow her, was still present, although no longer threatening. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 29, 2013.