Multiple deaths in ComVal families make it difficult to move on


NEW BATAAN, Compostela Valley, Philippines – Bonifacio Adlawan, 54, admitted the difficulty of accepting that his wife, Carmelita, 48, could be among the hundreds who died during typhoon Pablo’s onslaught here last week.

“I really love her,” Adlawan said as he narrated how close they were since their teenage years when they first met.  Their union bore seven children.

Carmelita, along with one of their daughters and two grandchildren, went missing when Pablo lashed at this town. They had not returned home since or had been found alive.

His son Pedro lost his entire family.

“Bebing, who is my son’s wife, is missing and also one of their children. Their other child was found dead,” he said.

“I cry almost every morning,” Adlawan said of his emotional state since Carmelita and their kin disappeared at the height of typhoon Pablo.

He said he should gather the strength to move on now, although he has been deeply disturbed by the thought that “I have not seen them given proper burial.”

Elsewhere in the town, many people like Adlawan have started coming to terms with reality: missing kin, numbering nearly 476, who might not have any chances of getting back home alive anymore.

About 250 bodies had already been recovered in this town alone.

“Those unidentified corpses would be buried in one of the graves, while the identified bodies into the other hole. The graves are made in concrete due to health and sanitation concerns,” Marlon Esperanza, municipal information officer, said.

A young woman on Tuesday approached Esperanza’s desk to check if her father was among those listed as dead.

“It’s been more than a week already and I don’t think he would still be found alive,” the woman from worst-hit Andap village, said as she browsed the long list of dead victims written on a cartolina and tacked near the makeshift information center at the town proper.

“Until his body had been found and positively identified, we cannot just yet include him on the list of dead (victims),” Esperanza replied.

A few number of survivors said they would only give up hopes of finding their relatives alive if their bodies were found.

“I will only return (to our village) if mother and my family had already returned,” Pedro said.

Other victims are now prioritizing keeping their surviving family members alive by promptly lining up for relief goods at distribution centers.

Violy Saguing, 38, who lost her eldest child Rodyard to the disaster, said living in an evacuation center has been difficult and lining up for relief goods has compounded their suffering.

“It is so hard to fall in line,” a sobbing Saguing said when the Philippine Daily Inquirer saw her.

“My husband, who is an office worker, joined a volunteer group that repacks goods for distribution. But he could not directly hand me the food items needed to keep our children away from hunger. I still have to fall in line,” she said.

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  • EREC

    Yes I experienced to be devastated by strong typhoon, I remember when I was a little boy the 2 hectares of rice field that already harvested and ready for tresher in one night just wipe out by strong current of water….. I noticed after that my Lolo always absent minded. How much more if the member of the family lost of lives by typhoon and did not found the body. So traumatic! God Bless and hope they can stand up again same as ours in Bicol…that we try to stand in our own feet after the strong storm.

  • boybakal

    Multiple deaths in ComVal families MAKE IT DIFFICULT TO MOVE ON.

    Use your common sense once in a while.
    One death in the family takes years to move on. Now you’re talking MULTIPLE DEATHS, no homes, no occupation….all flatten by storm….do you think it is EASY TO MOVE ON.
    It is not only difficult to Move ON but they cannot Move ON at all….that is for sure.
    The tragedy and trauma will be haunting these families.

  • EREC

    All Pilipinos will be obliged to help them….. please let just sacrifice a mobile load for one day and donate it to the victims of typhone. My family already help with clothings and I made additional a few sack of rice and pack of candles…. through the iniciative of our Maogmang Ciudad nin Naga, the goods donation will be ship after Friday, the information I got.

    How about you, did you do your part as a Pilipino?

  • Jon

    Kasalanan lahat ni gloria ito.

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