Barangay councilor from Tacloban takes oath in Davao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/30 Nov.) – She won as councilor of Barangay 73 PHHC in Tacloban City, but on Friday Jessica Seno Panis joined some 1,400 barangay officials of Davao City in a mass oath-taking ceremony presided by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Rendered homeless by super typhoon Yolanda and having to attend to her sick mother, Panis said her brother-in-law in Davao City took her in after Yolanda hit the Visayas last Nov. 8.

She said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and her barangay allowed her to take oath under Duterte.

She said she expects to finalize her travel arrangements and return to Tacloban within two weeks.

“I am waiting for help from the Davao Adventist Hospital, which promised to help me. That way, I would only have to pay for the barge fare, and I can save money,” she said.

“In our barangay, there were 22 people who died. Some of the dead were buried in the rubble, some under fallen trees,” Panis said.

Some of the dead had to be poured with gasoline and burned, after which the bones were placed inside sacks, she added.

“We could not pick them up because their skin would peel off when we tried,” she said.

Panis said her 79-year-old mother had to move somewhere else because of her asthma.

“We could not stand the smell, and it would have been sad if she would have survived the storm but succumbed to asthma,” she said.

She said the prices of goods and transport expenses in Tacloban had increased after the typhoon, and that the storm had left her without income.

“When the storm hit, the department store that I used to work for was ransacked,” she said.

A tearful Panis thanked Duterte in front of an applauding audience of local government officials, including members of the Davao City Council.

She said the city government had already helped the members of their community who were flown into Davao via a C130 plane, and that her trip out of Tacloban was done through her brother-in-law.

Panis said she considered herself luckier than some of the residents in her village.

“Some of them have nowhere else to go. If they flew to Manila, they weren’t sure if their relatives there would take them in,” she said. (MindaNews)