Another ‘bakwit’ Banwaon child dies in Agusan Sur

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/13 March) – A three-year-old Banwaon died at the evacuation camp in barangay Balit, San Luis town in Agusan del Sur at around 4:00 a.m. Thursday, the fifth child to die since members of her tribe fled their homes in this town’s hinterlands in January this year.

Emerita Lor, volunteer health worker of the Community-Based Health Services who had been working with the evacuees identified the child as Jenalyn Matibulig.

“This is the fifth child to have died since the exodus of the Banwaon tribe from their hinterland communities last January 23. We have yet to clearly determine the cause of the child’s death but the child had been having fever for three days and diarrhea for two days,” Lor said.

“Medications for the fever and oresol were given. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to save the child,” she added.

Jenalyn’s mother, Vilma Matibulig, said she thought the child was on her way to recovery.

“She showed signs that her condition was getting better after she had her medication. We thought it was going to be all right but at around 3:00 in the morning she suddenly complained of chest pains. We tried to do what we could but eventually she died,” a grief-stricken Vilma said.

Vilma has nine other children.

Jenalyn was the fifth Banwaon child to die since the tribe left their homes to flee the fighting between government troops and New People’s Army rebels.

In January, Jason Tilocan, 4, died while their family was staying in Sitio Tabanganan in this town’s Barangay Mahagsay. A few days later, another boy, Miguel Man-anito, 3, died.

On Feb. 6, Prenton Sayasaya, 2, died after a bout with fever. A week earlier, a mother died after delivering a stillborn baby at the evacuation camp in Balit.

According to the health workers attending to the evacuees, cases of fever and measles were high among the young children.

Amoeba also affected several children as well as adults some of whom tested positive of tuberculosis.

Eighty percent of the 174 families or around 1,000 individuals in the evacuation center are women and children. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)