Kidapawan quake victims refuse to return home

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 25 Oct) – At least 700 families in a hinterland village here still remain at the evacuation sites due to the series of aftershocks they still felt since the magnitude 6.3 earthquake that hit North Cotabato and other parts of Mindanao on October 16.

Kidapawan evacuees. Photo courtesy of Kidapawan Vice Mayor Jivy Roe Bombeo thru Kidapawan City Information Office Facebook page

Barangay Ilomavis chairman Jimmy Mantawil said the residents decided to stay at the barangay’s covered court and at a safe place at Sitio Sayaban for fear they might be buried in landslides when strong aftershocks will again shake their areas.

This despite the order coming from Psalmer Bernalte, of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), that the evacuees return homes after the threat level has already lowered.

Mantawil, however, said residents Purok 3 and Sitio Sayaban refused to go home because of fears of landslides and falling rocks.

He said, too, that the evacuees need more beddings, mosquito nets in particular, especially so that the place is an open space.

“The place is too cold and there are lots of mosquitoes in the area,” said the village chair.

“We already told the [CDRRMO] about our problems and we’re still waiting for the beddings,” he added.

Bernalte said the delay in the distribution of beddings is caused by the bureaucracy in the government, especially in the procurement process.

“We wanted to give them what they need but we’re following a process. We are just careful not to violate those laws,” he said.

Bernalte said the city government is set to release an initial fund of P1.2 million for the quake victims.

More funds would be released soon now that the city is placed under state of calamity, he added.

When the quake hit the city, at least 1,600 families from two puroks in Barangay Ilomavis left their homes and stayed in three evacuation sites. After a week, half of them had gone back home while others chose to stay. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)