Visiting quake-hit Bohol-A A +A
Friday, October 25, 2013
TUBIGON, BOHOL--I am here in this progressive town for yesterday afternoon’s live coverage of GMA 7 Cebu’s Balitang Bisdak and to join GMA Kapuso Foundation’s relief assistance and medical mission to places devastated by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that rocked Cebu and Bohol last week.
This coastal town is growing fast economically being the center of commerce and trade in the northwestern part of the province. This is my second visit to this town. The first was several years ago when I acted as wedding sponsor of GMA 7 senior reporter Jun Veligaño.
Tubigon is classified as a first class municipality. It has a seaport that many passengers from Cebu prefer to use to gain entry into and exit from Bohol. It is accessible to sea transport and travel time is short. The town, which is known for its “lambay” (sea crabs) has a population of around 45,000 based on the 2010 population survey.
But Tubigon’s economy has suffered a temporary setback because it was one of the areas hit hardest by the Oct. 15 tremor, together with other towns like Loon, Sagbayan, Clarin, Carmen, Buenavista and Maribojoc. Its seaport and other government infrastructure, including its municipal hall and commercial complex, were badly damaged.
Seacrafts are still allowed to dock at the pier, but cargo trucks and other heavy vehicles are prohibited from loading cargoes inside the port area as it might collapse. Cargoes have to be brought out of the pier “mano-mano” by porters and trisikad drivers.
I am not an engineer, but I think there are parts of the port that should be demolished as these may collapse. Big cracks are visible.
When our team arrived in the poblacion at around 2 p.m., what greeted us was the devastation. Some of the victims still live in tents mounted at the central elementary school and the community hospital. Both serve as evacuation centers. Other people are staying in makeshift structures near their collapsed houses.
I was informed that in the evacuation centers days after the quake, one can no longer distinguish the middle class from the poor. Middle class families whose concrete houses were also damaged don’t have a choice. They have to line up for relief assistance.
Some carenderias and stores in the town proper have opened. But pension houses are still closed because of some major cracks in their structures. Furniture and appliance outlets display their wares along the side of the streets.
I talked with some affected residents and they shared to me their experience during the quake and the agony they are suffering in the evacuation centers after the strong tremor. They have to rely on the relief assistance provided by the government and private sector.
If in Cebu City fire victims immediately build their houses the day after fire, here nobody has attempted to rebuild any structure. Some of the victims are apprehensive about constructing concrete houses.
Before the live coverage of Balitang Bisdak, our team conducted a feeding program in one of the evacuation centers here. You know what we fed them? Lechon belly, courtesy of one of Cebu's dealers, Marlon Gochan, who decided to cancel his birthday celebration today and donated the money to the quake victims.
We visited some remote barangays and saw people, many of them children, line up in the streets waiting for assistance. The words “help us” were written in big cartolinas.
Visit these devastated areas in Bohol now and your heart will bleed for the victims.
Today, GMA Kapuso Foundation and its partners, like the Rotary clubs in Cebu, the Cebu Medical Society and the All-terrain Medical Response Organization (Amro), are scheduled to conduct a medical mission in the town of Danao.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 26, 2013.