Mamanwa evacuees get sick; blame NFA rice from LGU

SAN ISIDRO, Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews/02 April)— Mamanwa evacuees who have sought refuge here blamed the illnesses that many of them felt on the rice reportedly coming from the municipal government.

Many of the evacuees suffered stomach pains, diarrhea, colds, fever and stress a day after each family received two kilos of NFA (National Food Authority) rice that from the town’s social welfare and development office, Jun Calinawan, of sitio Bongogon said.

Calinawan said that was the only help they have received from the local government.

He asked the local government not to give them NFA rice again.

He also appealed to those who wanted to help not to give them the same foodstuff so that their suffering in the evacuation site may not worsen.

“Grabe gyod kalisod among kahimtang diri tapos tagaan pa mi og magkadaot among tiyan,” (Our situation here is difficult and yet they gave us food that’s not good for our stomach.) Calinawan said.

Pedong Mahupay and Sinayang Hubasan of sitio Pagbangayan said they suffered stomach pain after eating the NFA rice.

Mahupay’s two-year-old son, Angelo, caught colds and fever and complained of stomach pain too.

The evacuees said a one-year old baby girl, Marife Iligan was sent to Caraga Regional Hospital after suffering fever and diarrhea.

Others complained of headache, stress and other ailments. They asked the government to provide them  doctors and medicines.

Hubasan said they have to endure the severe heat during daytime and the cold from the evening to the early hours of the morning.

MindaNews tried to contact Gigaquit Mayor Arturo Carlos Egay, Sr., through his mobile phone but he did not reply.

The Mamanwas have built fourteen makeshift huts near the dam with each hut being shared by three families.

Many flies could be seen flying around their temporary abodes.

Saying they fear they might become the next victims, the Mamanwas from the communities of Pagbangayan, Katikuyan, Bongogon and Kalatinga numbering 66 families or 259 individuals have sought refuge in an island formed by silt, near the dam in Baoy River in this barangay.

The shooting on March 23 of a Mamanwa in Barangay Camam-onan allegedly by soldiers belonging to the 30th Infantry Battalion has forced other tribal villagers to evacuate.

Datu Geni Calisangan of Bongogon said they got scared after Balodoy Enano was shot allegedly by soldiers while gathering firewood together with three other men.

Enano was discharged from the Caraga Regional Hospital after being treated of his wound in the upper chest. He claimed it was members of the 30th IB who shot him. The military denied the accusation.

The Mamanwas have asked the military to stop the operations in their villages so that they could go back.

“Wala gyod mi kabalo kanus-a mi makauli, hadlok pa man kami kay naa pa may mga sundalo didto,” (We don’t know when we can go back to our homes; we are still afraid because the soldiers are still there.) said Eugene Calinawan from Sitio Bongogon. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)