My heart bleeds for Bohol-A A +A
Sunday, October 20, 2013
ALTHOUGH I seldom visit Bohol, I consider myself a Boholano. My great grandfather came from Maribojoc, Bohol. He went to Dipolog in Mindanao in the 18th century to sell and barter clothing for rice. He married my great grandmother from the Ronquillo clan who had Spanish blood.
When I was invited as guest speaker of the Nalzaro clan reunion organized by Msgr. Junnex Nalzaro two years ago in Maribojoc, I was able to trace my roots and our family tree. Most of my ancestors came from Barangay Agajay, Maribojoc. Morag usa ka baryohan didto ang mga Nalzaro.
My relatives there have been texting me, asking for help. Five days after the strong earthquake rocked Bohol and Cebu, they still hadn’t received any relief goods and assistance. In the first two days, no one could get through Maribojoc because the bridge that linked the town and the town of Cortes to Tagbilaran City collapsed. People had to take small boats to reach poblacion. However, engineers from the Metro Manila Development Authority have put up a temporary footbridge.
According to my relatives, the distribution of relief assistance is mainly in the town center. But there are a lot of victims in rural areas that need assistance. Agajay is a mountain barangay. I pity residents there because I saw their condition during my visit. What they need are food, water and trapal. The trapal will protect them from the elements. They’ve been seeking refuge in open ground and under the trees.
Some of the concrete houses in the barangay were not destroyed, but their owners are afraid to go back in because of the frequent aftershocks. To get the outside world’s attention, they spell out the word “help” on the road.
The calamity that hit Bohol is testing the government’s ability and capability to provide relief to the victims. Quake victims are disappointed and frustrated at the snail’s pace of the government’s response. It took them two or three days to react and distribute relief goods. This is also the observation of Bohol native and mediaman Andy Manatad whom I met while writing this piece in an uptown coffee shop. Andy is from Buenavista, which was also devastated.
But how come the private sector, including the GMA Kapuso Foundation and the ABS-CBN Kapamilya Foundation, was able to immediately dispatch relief goods to affected areas? When Kapuso regional coordinator Mabel Rusiana learned about the extent of damage in Bohol, she went there on that same day and brought along some relief goods.
Her group was able to distribute the goods the following day until the bulk of relief assistance from Cebu and Manila arrived.
If the private sector was able to quickly respond, why can’t the government, especially the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which is in the frontline in this kind of endeavor?
Nagyaya lang ning gobyerno. Didto si President Noynoy Aquino sa Bohol apan igo ra ceremonial distribution. Pagkahuman wala na. Photo-op lang gyud ang ila.
A photo that my good friend Dante Luzon posted on Facebook caught my attention. It showed several sacks of relief goods that have not been distributed in one of the government buildings in Bohol.
I don’t have a way of verifying the veracity of the photo but if it’s true, maybe we can call the attention of our political leaders there to immediately distribute those relief goods. Unsa man naghuwat pa mo og TV crew usa na ninyo i-distribute? Pa-pogi points gihapon. Mangalata intawon na, oi.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 20, 2013.