School offers too brief a rest for storm victims
More News from Philippine Daily Inquirer
MATI CITY—Where to next?
Villagers displaced by Typhoon “Pablo” in two towns in Davao Oriental, one of the worst hit provinces, will be displaced again from Mati National High School here as education officials want the school emptied of at least 158 evacuees by today to prepare the school for the resumption of classes on Jan. 2.
It leaves Rodelo Aporbo, his wife and two children wondering where to go next after staying in the school for the last 20 days.
Social welfare workers had listed two options for the evacuees—return to their devastated hometowns in Cateel and Baganga or move to another evacuation center that has not been identified yet.
If they opt to return home, the government promised to give them tents, work and six months’ worth of food ration.
Aporbo, however, is not convinced. He wants to stay. “We cannot go back there. There is nothing there for us,” he told the Inquirer.
Aporbo’s home is the village of Poo in Baganga town where he said “it is so hot that the children get sick.”
Poo is a 14-hectare islet. At least seven of its 500 residents were killed when Pablo struck on Dec. 4. Most of its residents have either evacuated to the mainland or to Mati City.
“There are no trees there. There are no shades. The children are ill with cough and colds,” said Aporbo. “If we go back there, the more we will suffer,” he added.
Luzviminda Verba, another evacuee, feels the same. Her house in the village of Kinabalangan is now upside down, torn from its lot by the storm.
While willing to return to her village, Verba said it was not yet time. “The water there is not safe for drinking,” she said.
Aporbo said he felt uneasy over the government’s promise to provide food for six months. “After six months, what?” he said.
“Our livelihood is fishing. We cannot be forever eating noodles and canned sardines,” he said.
Aporbo and residents of Poo lost their boats during the storm.
Sister Badette Dollete, directress of Ad Jesum Development Foundation, said the evacuees could stay at the foundation’s seminar house, which has 150 beds, “only until the provincial government has found a place for them.”
“They are pitiful,” said the nun. “What a timing to make them leave the schools.” Nico Alconaba, Inquirer Mindanao
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94