Damage in Bohol towns-A A +A
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
THE building where I hold office in the pier has been inspected and declared safe twice by a structural engineer: immediately after the earthquake last Tuesday and early morning yesterday. So why was I so scared by the two aftershocks that came within an hour of each other yesterday morning?
It’s a natural human reaction, I think, the same one that brought thousands of Cebuanos to the streets and other open spaces where they spent the entire night Tuesday.
I asked one of them–-an employee of a call center in Ayala-–what brought him to the Cebu City Sports Center oval where I found him and three others sleeping on the rubberized track and he said he was afraid to go back to his boarding house in Urgello because of the continuing tremors.
I was listening to Omar Redula, who was discussing morality and law on Frankahay Ta!, when the killer earthquake struck.
I noticed it when the microphone in front of me began moving up and down. Then as my chair began to shake violently, I heard a roar resembling the sound of a jackhammer pounding pavement. I think Titus Borromeo, Omar and I moved out of the studio calmly.
When the earth stopped shaking, my knees took over.
I have since resolved not go on living with my fear; I have to overcome it. That is easier said than done, of course.
But late yesterday, I decided to move out of the building that has been declared safe and work in my old law office. I’m staring at a huge crack on the hall as I am typing this. I haven’t felt any aftershock yet. When I do, I promise not to run. But I will still move out of the building.
I’m working to conquer my fear but I am not going to be suicidal or a fool.
The initial reports on the damage to life and property that the quake brought upon Bohol did not mention the town of Maribojoc. Now, it looks like it bore the brunt of Nature’s fury last Tuesday.
Our TV 5 reporter Jinky Bargio was in the first group of mediamen that visited the town yesterday morning and the picture that she painted was that of utter desolation.
The town has been cut off from both sides, according to Jinky. And the centuries-old town church was so thoroughly destroyed, she said, that first-time visitors would not know that a church once stood there. All that one can see is a huge pile of rubble.
She added that beside the Church, a private school likewise collapsed in a heap, killing an elementary school pupil. The police have reported more than 80 dead as of Tuesday evening in Bohol alone. They expressed fears that the number of fatalities could mount.
The provincial government is working feverishly to restore access to areas that have been isolated by landslides and destroyed bridges. Jinky’s group was on its way from Tagbilaran to Loon (which was earlier reported to have sustained massive damage) but because the roads were impassable, they had to abandon their van, hire a motorbike and finally hike until they reached Maribojoc.
Jinky was still panting when we spoke to her on the phone but her shock and pain were evident in her voice.
All the churches in the island’s 21 towns sustained varying degrees of damages, according to Jinky, citing police sources. Most of these were built during the Spanish era and therefore already formed part of our heritage.
But the churches can be rebuilt, something that you cannot say about the lives that were lost. We can only pray that God will receive all those who perished in His warm embrace.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 17, 2013.