CITY hall officials and employees have agreed to donate at least P100 each to help earthquake victims in North Cotabato, among the hardest hit areas in Mindanao and where people in need of help are becoming more and more desperate for relief aid.
During yesterday morning’s flag-raising ceremony and program, city administrator Teodoro Sabuga-a Jr. called on city hall employees and department heads to donate money to the quake victims, saying it was “better to give than receive.”
“We have yet to determine what kind of assistance we can give to them (quake victims) and Mayor Oscar Moreno is communicating with Col. (Verneer) Monsanto (overseer of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Department) on the situation in the affected areas to see what assistance we can give them,” Sabuga-a told city hall employees and department heads.
In the meantime, Sabuga-a asked city hall employees and department heads what they can give to the victims and after some time, he convinced them to donate P100 each, deductible from their bonuses as cash aid to the affected families.
“Mas maayo pa na motabang ta kay sa tayo pa tabangan, right?” Sabuga-a said. City hall employees chorused their agreement on his proposal to donate money sourced from their bonuses that they will receive sometime this month.
The P100 will be deducted by the City Accounting Office from regular, casual, excluding “job order” workers who number about 2,665 and 20 elected officials including Sangguniang Kabataan and Liga ng Barangay representatives.
Desperate calls for help, food and medicines from residents littered the highway in Makilala town, North Cotabato over the weekend.
A 22-year-old farmer was stabbed to death Saturday after residents started become unruly as relief convoys arrived to deliver food and tarpaulins.
Barangay chairman Napoleon Inggo of Indangan, Makilala, said Eric Magtango allegedly stabbed his neighbor, a certain Michael, to death over an argument who gets the last tarpaulin.
Inggo said tarpaulins are among the most desired items among the residents because it can be used as tents.
Appeals for potable water also rang out after the 6.5 tremblor Thursday destroyed pipes and drinking facilities.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology ordered the evacuation of 11 barangays in Makilala town early Saturday.
This developed as the North Cotabato Police Office listed five deaths in the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that rocked Kidapawan City; Tulunan and Makilala towns last Thursday.
The Makilala Disaster Risk Management office said rescuers on trucks evacuated some 4,100 families or 25,000 persons from the eleven barangays.
In Barangay Indangan, no houses remain standing in his mountain village, located 15 kilometers from the highway.
Inggo told Happy Radio FM, a local radio station in Kidapawan City, that many of his neighbors are now living on roads and other open spaces.
He said the villagers have refused to heed the call to evacuate reasoning that life in evacuation centers are miserable and nobody can outrun an earthquake.
“I ordered all the pregnant women and children to evacuate but many still refused,” Inggo said.
The influx of so many residents from the eleven barangays have overwhelmed disaster management officials in Makilala, according to Rey Barnido of Caritas, a church based relief agency.
“There are so many trucks and personnel sent by government agencies just milling around in Makilala town plaza with nothing to do,” Barnido said.
Barnido said these trucks and personnel could have been sent to fetch the residents coming from the mountainous villages who are made to walk for hours with their belongings.
He said when the residents reached the town there was little food, water and medicines available.
“So many of them made appeals by writing them on cartoons, paper or anything that could be placed along the highway,” Barnido said.
Esther Roque, a resident of Kidapawan City, said she saw a crowd mobbed a pickup filled with water bottles brought by a good Samaritan.
“It is so scary to pass that portion of the highway in Makilala. It is like a setting of an apocalypse movie,” Roque said.
Col. Eugene Osias of the Armed Forces Eastern Command said Offce of Civil Defense informed them that they are shipping four water purification equipment this weekend to ease the problem of potable water supply.
Also, Balay Mindanaw Foundation will be sending four water purifier systems that would be installed on fire trucks that will deliver water to the affected residents.
Even Lanao del Sur and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao are fetching in to help. (Stephen Capillas of CIO, and Froilan Gallardo, special correspondent)