Gold town folks lament lack of gov’t aid for Pablo

Dec. 09, 2012

Julieta Nalam, a resident of sitio Haylo Highlander, said “Wala gyud mi naabtan og hinabang.  Nag-linya mi dinhi sukad pa gahapon pero wala mi kadawat (No help has come our way.  We’ve been waiting here since yesterday but we received nothing).”

By AIDA TIZON/Correspondent
Davao Today

MONKAYO, Compostela Valley, Philippines — Just like a thief in the night, it took away everything, if not almost all of precious belongings of residents of this gold town.

Two residents from the gold-rush Diwata village came down from the mountains to find help.  “Nagbaktas pa ko sukad gabie aron makaabot dinhi (I’ve been walking since last night to get here in Poblacion),” said Danilo Duco.

He temporarily left his wife and four children.  “Pait kaayo didto (sa Diwalwal).  Slayd kaayo ang dalan.  Ang mga dalan nangaputol (It’s very difficult there.  The roads are very slippery, if not damaged),” he added.

Since Pablo hit their community, they have not received any help.  About 13 bodies were recovered from their village, the highest number of casualties among Monkayo areas.

But Edilberto Arriza, executive director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-XI, said Friday they are happy that there were no reported casualties from mining areas in the region.  He denied that the Diwalwal casualties are related to mining.

“The cause of deaths in Monkayo is drowning, not landslide.  It’s not mining-related.”  He said the victims were either run over by falling logs or were affected by drowning.

Hungry residents, children included, have resorted to begging along the highway.  They even posted a sign that reads “Hinabang lang” (assistance needed) for motorists and passersby.

With its “unexpected” strong wind, typhoon Pablo totally damaged almost all houses.  Walls and roofs were blown away while coconut palms collapsed.  One house crumbled as it bore the sheer weight of seven falling coconut trees.

Pagkahuman sa hangin, miatake ang baha.  Mao na ni ang agi inigkahuman sa bagyo (After the strong winds, there were flashfloods.  This is now what’s left of us,” Ara Montejo, Poblacion village councilor said.

Pait gyud and kahimtang dinhi.  Number 1 namong problema ang tubig ug suga (The situation here has turned worse.  Our main problems are water and electricity),” Montejo said.  He added that they can’t charge their cellphones for communication because power lines are down.

Naay magpa charge pero tag baynte pesos (PHP 20) ang bayad.  Unya ang kinabuhi baya namo karon dinhi kay lisud (We had to pay 20 pesos to charge our mobile phones.  But we can’t afford that because we’re really financially challenged now).”

Since Tuesday, electricity was down, potable water was scarce, and food supply was near to nothing.

“We’re badly in need of food and water,” said Allen Cabang, Poblacion village chief.

About 5,000 families or 20,000 individuals are affected in his village.  Cabang said an initial of two to three kilos of rice were given to the residents.  “But there are 4,000 families more who have yet to be fed,” he lamented.

Poblacion village has 26 sitios (sub-villages).

Julieta Nalam, a resident of sitio Haylo Highlander, said “Wala gyud mi naabtan og hinabang.  Nag-linya mi dinhi sukad pa gahapon pero wala mi kadawat (No help has come our way.  We’ve been waiting here since yesterday but we received nothing).”

Poblacion village is relatively luckier.  In San Jose village, few residents received only one and a half kilos of rice since Tuesday.  But the village of Balabag and Diwata received nothing.

According to Sara Tanghian, action officer of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MDRRMC), 100 percent of the population in Monkayo was affected by Pablo.  This means 22,422 families or 94,827 individuals from the total 21 villages.

Some evacuees are housed in the village hall, after the gym, the supposed evacuation center, was damaged with its roof blown away.

Walay klaro ang evacuation centers dinhi kay nangahugno.  Ang mga atop sa ubang evacuation center na-ukang.  Ang uban sa kilid na lang magpondo samtang ang uban, nag-antos og pondo sa ilang balay bisan pa nadaot na gyud,” Tanghian said.

Pablo also affected 95 percent of the town’s public and private infrastructures and 100 percent of agriculture.

As of Friday, 70 bodies were recovered while 12 are still missing.  Some 82 individuals were injured.

Tanghian said their main focus now is the distribution of relief goods and to give medical assistance to the injured.  But as to the missing persons:  “Lisud naman gud.  Dili na sila ma-identify.  Mas pagkaon man ang kinahanglan gud karon (It’s already very difficult.  They can’t even be identified.  What’s more important is food for the affected).”

“We’re calling on the national government and all other government agencies to help the people of Monkayo,” Cabang appealed.  (With a report from Marilou Aguirre-Tuburan /

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