EIGHTEEN islands in Iloilo, including the famous Islas de Gigantes in Carles town, have been isolated since August 3 when gale warning was issued, suspending trips of all sea vessels due to bad weather.
The weather condition, which caused the suspension of trips, has affected around 18,000 households and stranded 100 tourists. This prompted Carles Mayor Siegfredo Betita to declare a state of calamity Thursday, August 8, 2019.
Betita said aside from the 18 island barangays, at least 15 villages in the mainland Iloilo were also affected by the suspension of trips imposed by authorities.
The families, he said, are calling for assistance, especially food, as their livelihood, which is fishing, has been affected.
Betita said the Gigantes Islands, which has been popular for its natural saltwater lagoon called Tangke, was the first to be affected by the cancellation of fishing vessels.
But he said the local government unit of Carles is now preparing about 250 goods to be delivered to the affected residents.
“Geophysically isolated and distant area ang Carles, so we have the plan namon na good for seven days pagkaon for the locals and tourist (We prepare food that's good for seven days as Carles town is far from the mainland),” he said.
He said he also sought the assistance of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office and Office of Civil Defense to provide vessels who can transport the stranded passengers to the mainland.
“Hindi lang sila madudla magkadto sa Carles. The municipality will continue to cater them and protect them,” he added.
Commodore Allan Victor Dela Vega, Philippine Coast Guard Western Visayas District commander, also said Friday, August 9, that through the initiative of Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr., boxes of food packs from the DSWD will be transported to the islands of Carles town onboard the BRP Cape Engaño vessel. (SunStar Philippines)