Good Samaritans mobbed by hungry quake victims in Cotabato town

MAKILALA, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 1 Nov) – Amid the chaos, destruction and displacement triggered by three powerful earthquakes and hundreds of aftershocks here, kindred souls or groups intending to help the victims were advised to directly give their donations to the local government unit after evacuees mobbed Good Samaritans distributing relief assistance.

Unruly earthquake victims mob Good Samaritans distributing relief assistance in front of the Malasila Elementary School in Makilala, North Cotabato on Friday (1 November 2019). MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

The epicenter of Thursday’s magnitude 6.5 quake (06.92°N, 125.06°E, as plotted by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology or PHIVOLCS) is somewhere in this municipality, about five kilometers southwest from the poblacion area.

Pio Abonado, the local government’s camp manager for the evacuation centers established at the Malasila Elementary School and the Malasila National Vocational and Technological High School, said there was almost a stampede as evacuees rushed in a bid to get their hands first on goods handed by several individuals who did not coordinate with authorities.

“It was good nobody was hurt,” he told MindaNews after talking to the good Samaritans and the unruly evacuees.

MindaNews witnessed the crowd mobbing a white pickup truck with several individuals on board who were distributing snacks and slippers at the elementary school in Barangay Malasila here shortly before noon.

“We appeal to individuals, groups or foundations to give their donations to our relief command center for the proper and orderly distribution of relief assistance,” Abonado said.

The local social welfare office personnel are manning the command center.

Several evacuees at the two schools said they have not received relief assistance yet from any government or non-government organizations as of Friday noon.

Some of them also said they haven’t eaten since breakfast.

Entering this town from Davao City, many houses along the highway were seen totally or partially destroyed.

What the evacuees need. MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

The evacuees needed food, water and tents, as seen from the placards or streamers they mounted on the roadside.

A magnitude 6.3 quake first struck on October 16, followed by the October 29 magnitude 6.6 temblor (immediately followed by a magnitude 6.1 temblor 98 minutes later) and the magnitude 6.5 tremor on October 31.

Except for the latest Oct. 31 earthquake whose epicenter was in Makilala, epicenter in the previous ones were in Tulunan, an adjacent municipality, according to PHIVOLCS.

Hundreds of aftershocks were recorded since then. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)