KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 17 December) — Thousands of quake victims whose houses are or were situated in danger zones are to remain in the evacuation camps while the emergency or forced evacuation order issued in October by Mayor Joseph Evangelista is still in effect.
Evangelista said he has tasked personnel of the Kidapawan City Police, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to continue implementing the order.
The mayor claimed he employed the mandatory evacuation as ‘protective action’ to help save lives while strong earthquakes and series of aftershocks continue to sow fear and trauma among the residents.
In his December 15 order to maintain status quo in the evacuation camps, Evangelista said law enforcers, “may use physical force” if affected residents defy his instruction.
He explained that he used as basis Section 6 of the Ordinance Number 13-885 or “Ordinance Implementing Force Evacuation in Times of Disasters and Emergencies as Declared by the City and Danger of Loss of Lives Becomes Imminent.”
“Consistent with the provisions of the Ordinance, and the duty of the Office of the City Mayor to execute and implement the same, all evacuees and persons situated in danger zones or areas not declared to be safe by competent authorities are hereby ordered to remain to the duly designated evacuation centers or in areas declared to be safe,” the order states.
Recent data from the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) office showed that at least 1,774 families from the barangays of Ilomavis, Balabag, and Indangan have remained in the evacuation camps.
Of these, at least 500 families from Barangay Ilomavis whose houses are in landslide-prone or danger zones would be relocated to the 4.4 hectare-lot the city government plans to purchase from the Sunico family, amounting to P7 million.
Earlier, experts from the Mines Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), verified areas fit for relocation or resettlement of quake victims.
Evangelista said payments for lot purchases might be taken from funds coming from the National Housing Authority (NHA) or from the P100 million loan the city government plans to apply for in the Land Bank of the Philippines.
The mayor stressed he will not deprive or prevent quake victims from engaging in productive activities such as farming or cultivation, as long as these activities are performed without risk.
Many of the quake victims are farmers whose primary source of living is farming. (Malu Cadelina-Manar / MindaNews)