WHO would have thought that a name as nice as “Henry” would cause so much misery to families living on the shores of Barangays Poblacion and Cansojong in Talisay City?
That “Henry” was a tropical depression that packed maximum winds of 60 kilometers per hour (km/h) and gustiness of up to 75 km/h might partly be the reason.
Although, if it’s any consolation, “Henry” is slowly leaving the Philippine Area of Responsibility. Or it might have already left.
Either way, coastal dwellers don’t have to worry about being bombarded by meter-high waves.
Mind you, “Henry” was not entirely to blame. The tropical depression just compounded the problem that is associated with the southwest monsoon, or “habagat,” the country experiences this time of year.
To those who don’t know—and I didn’t until I looked it up—the southwest monsoon is a weather phenomena that starts out over the Bay of Bengal in May, arrives at the Indian Peninsula in June, and then moves towards the South China Sea.
It carries more moisture because it flows from sea to land.
I’m not sure if climate change has affected the timing of its arrival to our archipelago. If it hasn’t then people shouldn’t be caught by surprise when it visits our shores.
But that’s exactly what happened to the 28 families in Sitios Asan Poblacion, Psalm and Mahayahay in Barangay Poblacion.
Or they wouldn’t have been forced to leave ses temporarily while waves pummeled their dainty houses. And an emphasis on “temporarily” because some refuse to leave their belongings.
In Cansojong, 20 households in Sitios Asan Cansojong and Sitio Abalo were affected.
In Poblacion, Barangay Captain Edward Alesna told SunStar Cebu’s Justin K. Vestil that they plan to declare a state of calamity so they can help the affected families repair their damaged houses or rebuild after providing them with food.
The affected families in Cansojong have been getting relief aid since their evacuation last Monday, according to Barangay Captain Vicente Oberez.
These families should count themselves lucky that their barangays, despite their meager budgets, are there to help. Because I don’t think they’re supposed to be there.
Article 51 of the Water Code of the Philippines states: “The banks of rivers and streams and the shores of the seas and lakes throughout their entire length and within a zone of three meters in urban areas, 20 meters in agricultural areas and 40 meters in forest areas... are subject to the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing and salvage. No person shall be allowed to stay in this zone longer than what is necessary....”