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Where were local officials of Bohol town?

/ 03:06 AM October 22, 2013

Earthquake victims in Bohol province need tents to protect them from the elements and drinking water to prevent and outbreak of diarrhea in the crowded evacuation centers.

My staff and I, as well as some doctors from St. Luke’s Hospital in Quezon City, went to Loon and Catigbian towns in Bohol province over the weekend.

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We found that most townsfolk in Loon had abandoned their houses and were living in makeshift shelters.

Loon was the one of the hardest-hit by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Bohol and Cebu, another devastated province, on Oct. 15.

The town’s church, Nuestra Señora de la Luz built in 1855, came falling down; under the rubble are about seven decomposing bodies which could not be retrieved for lack of heavy equipment.

Several remote barangays in Catigbian town need drinking water, like other barangays in many devastated towns.

The water-purifying tablets we brought from Manila were not enough for the townsfolk in Loon and Catigbian who have been deprived of safe drinking water since the earthquake.

If you have tents or sacks made into tents and water-purifying tablets or machines that purify water, you can entrust your donations to us.

Our address is radio station dwIZ, 5th floor, Citystate Centre Bldg., 709 Shaw Blvd., Pasig City.

Col. Miguel Okol, chief of the Air Force public affairs office, promised us the facilities of the Air Force to bring our relief stocks to Bohol and Cebu.

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I noticed that in Loon, most townsfolk didn’t speak well of their local officials.

“Our officials have been out of sight since the earthquake,” a resident told me, echoing the sentiments of other victims.

The medical and relief mission I headed set up on Saturday a makeshift consultation clinic and kitchen at the town plaza, where once stood the church, to receive patients and feed the townspeople.

A few meters from our makeshift clinic-cum-kitchen was a tent put up by the town’s parish priest for the distribution of relief.

Most of the donations we set aside for Loon town were taken to the parish priest’s house near the destroyed church.

We never saw the mayor, vice mayor or any of the town councilors among the earthquake victims at the town plaza.

Neither did we see any of them at the town’s public hospital, where doctors from St. Luke’s Hospital found patients being treated under the trees.

I also didn’t see uniformed policemen at the town plaza, where victims gathered, until I called up Camp Crame to report their absence.

In contrast with the absence of town officials, strangers like us and others from Manila were all over the town plaza.

Volunteers of the medical and relief mission of the Tzu Chi Buddhists Association, who were with us on the plane from Manila to Tagbilaran, were also at the town plaza.

One of them told me they would set up a consultation clinic and makeshift kitchen at the plaza the following day, Sunday.

Red Cross volunteers from Tagbilaran assisted my staff in giving away medicines prescribed by St. Luke’s doctors to patients who lined up at the makeshift clinic.

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I’d like to mention the people and entities that made our medical and relief mission to Bohol possible:

Ramon Ang, president and CEO of San Miguel Corp. for our free fare and baggage at Philippine Airlines; Philippine Air Force, for collecting our relief stocks; JRS Express delivery, for free freight of our cargos to Bohol; Lucio Co, owner of Puregold chain of supermarkets; Sammy Po, owner of EQ Diapers; Cora Ong, owner of CDO Foods, who donated 200 boxes of canned goods; St. Martin Pharmaceuticals, for donating medicines; former Ambassador Antonio Cabangon-Chua, who gave away 2,000 blankets; members of Sagipbayan, an association of doctors at St. Luke’s; First Academy of Computer Arts; Emma Gomez, owner of Ananyana beach resort; Dr. Elizabeth Godino, Cyrus Chung, Luisa Lamoste, Ariel Nepomuceno, Jimmy Policarpio; Dr. James Dy of Chinese General Hospital, who donated a water-purifying machine; Inner Wheel Club and Agnes Huibonhoa.

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TAGS: Bohol, Earthquake, local government officials, Loon, relief
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