By WENDY ATUBAN WITH REPORTS FROM ARTHUR LAPAAN ALLAD-IW
Review of land system urged
BAGUIO CITY — Congressman Mauricio Domogan said that his proposed bill to amend the 100 years City Charter removes the tedious process of bidding under the Town Site Sales Application (TSA) which would facilitate faster awarding of land to qualified beneficiaries.
A human rights lawyer urged however the review of the land system in the city to know if we have enough lands which could be utilized to address the right to shelter for the needy residents.
Domogan took the forum at the Multi-Purpose of the City Hall to deny earlier allegations that his proposed amendments of the City Charter is anti-poor, inconsiderate of ancestral lands claims, and did not undergo public consultation.
In a forum held in line with the 2009 Local celebration of the the national shelter month, the congressman said that misinterpretation and politics are behind said allegations.
First, he claimed he supports legitimate ancestral land claims in the city. He explained, contrary to popular belief, that Baguio is covered by the provisions of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act. Citing section 78 of said law, he said only those claims before the effectivity of the IPRA which is on November 1997 are recognized as legitimate.
Domogan said that Busol watershed is inalienable. He admitted that the ancestral land claimants at Busol are recognized as heirs however “they do not have vested rights on the same.” Whether the claimants have vested rights would still be decided by the court, a claimant of Busol said, insisting that ancestral land claim is a vested right.
Domogan affirmed the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) has authority to issue temporary restraining orders and injunctions when related to ancestral land issues.
Domogan said the city charter needs to be codified in order for it to be available to the people and for it to fit the present situation of the city and its future. Till then, he said, the city could implement its land use development plan. The amendments, he said, “will help speed up land processes” and “will help give city authority and control of lands.”
Who says it’s anti-poor?
“It is not anti-poor. Who says it is anti-poor?” That is what Domogan asked the people gathered in the forum answering earlier allegations by some concerned groups that his local cha-cha does not help the poor and the homeless in the city.
He maintained that it is not anti-poor because there is no longer public bidding on alienable lands except for special cases. According to him, bidding occurs only when there are two or more claimants on an area and when the claimants have similar circumstances. In which case, the most deserving will get the award.
While there is no bidding however, the alienable land under the proposed charter will be sold to qualified beneficiaries, said an urban poor leader adding: “The capacity to pay alienable land by a beneficiary remains an issue.”
He admitted that settling land ownership in the city could help address the issue of the right of shelter which some of the audience raised as an issue lacking in the proposed charter.
Regarding public concern on the lack of public consultation about the proposed amendments in the city charter which is now pending in the senate, Domogan said it has undergone many consultations and in fact it has sustained some recommendations gathered from those who have been consulted.
Urban poor leaders who attended the forum claimed that there was no public consulations that happened in the past. If there was, it was only with few selected leaders. In fact, before this so called forum, they should have given us copy to study the contents of the proposed bill, he added.
Right to shelter
Meanwhile, while the proposed Domogan bill for Baguio charter change removed the process of bidding as contained under the town site sales application (TSA) of the 1909 Charter, the availability of disposable land in the city remains a real issue.
Lawyer Jose Mencio Molintas explained that the TSA system was adopted by the American colonial rule in the country because they wanted to encourage people to come in the city.
“That was 100 years ago,” he said, adding that there are now more than 300,000 population of the city. Is there still land to be sold? he asked.
He said that the policy to sale alienable land in the city should be reviewed instead and determine those areas which could be habitable.
“To change the charter after 100 years is an opportunity, but the land system should be reviewed instead,” explained Molintas. He said that these lands can be utilized to address the right to shelter by the residents instead.
There are more than eight million square meters pending TSA and Miscellaneous Sales Applications (MSA) at the Bureau of Land here, Nordis learned. # nordis.net
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The Agustin Begnalen Command (ABC) of the New People’s Army(NPA) in Abra criticized the officials of the Armed Forces of The Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in claiming that one of the soldiers who are in relief operations in the province was killed by an NPA guerilla. Read the rest of this entry →
KABATAAN PARTYLIST PRESS RELEASE
BAGUIO CITY — With a week before the voters registration period ends, the Kabataan Party list urged the Comelec to extend the registration anew in consideration with the region as most hit by typhoon Pepeng. Read the rest of this entry →
By CATHERINE CALUYA
BAGUIO CITY — Alarmed by the already 22,000 tons of uncollected garbage in the city since the City Environment and Parks Office (CEPMO) ordered Baguio barangay officials to hold their wastes two weeks ago, acting City Mayor Daniel Fariñas asked the city council to come up with a solution to the garbage problem.
Fariñas reiterated the need for an urgent solution to garbage disposal to maintain the city’s image as tourism destination and education center of the north. He also reminded Baguio residents on the importance of proper solid waste management. Read the rest of this entry →
Congressman Mauricio Domogan’s proposed amendments to the City’s 100 year old charter has been accused of being anti-poor, anti-indigenous people’s rights, and lacks public consultation. It has also been said to be a cut-and-paste production from the Local Government Code.
While the good Congressman defends his action to amend the City Charter as keeping it up to date with the times and “codifying it to make it more available to the people,” vocal individuals and peoples organizations have consistently raised the same points against every draft of the proposed amended charter since he first was elected a congressman of this lone district.
For the indigenous peoples, original families or the native Ibalois of Baguio, it was by that city charter that made the grabbing of their land, displacing them from their homes, farms and pasture range a hundred years ago look legal to the foreign culture now adopted by the greater Filipino society. No where in the proposed amended copy has this been recognized and therefore made right or attempt to make right.
Taking the lands and property of the natives without the benefit of due process has even been condemned by the very Supreme Court of the colonizing country in a landmark decision now known as the Doctrine of Native Title. The doctrine from which the present Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) is founded.
The proposed amended draft of the charter also perpetuates the Townsite Sales Application (TSA) system, which ‘unlawfully’ declared the community recognized Ibaloi lands as public land, subdivided it, and sold it to other people to raise funds for the city and to populate the then new Baguio City, a hundred years ago.
The lack of public consultation. Yes, the draft definitely lacks a free, prior, informed consultation with the people of this city. In a true and informed forum, our congressman would not be talking down at us against criticisms made of his proposed draft but instead be in a healthy informative discussion. And, the real and most recent copy of his draft of his proposed amendment would be available for study especially to the members of the critical press and not just to the PR practitioners.
If it is a cut-and-paste piece from the LGC why not just use the Code and refrain from using public funds to mount a Cha-cha campaign to support a poor copy of the Code? # nordis.net
By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
I thought the real stakeholders in a community are the members or its members as a whole; and, that in a democracy the majority population, and not just the registered voters, of a community prevails. Read the rest of this entry →
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
On June 28, 2007, the KMU received the report of the ILO on Case No. 2528. Here are some of the points raised in the report:
The ILO Committee on Freedom of Association made the following recommendations:
(a) “The Committee deplores the gravity of the allegations made in the case and the fact that more than a decade after the filing of the last complaint on similar allegations, inadequate progress has been made by the Government with regard to putting an end to killings, abductions, disappearances and other serious human rights violations which can only reinforce a climate of violence and insecurity and have an extremely damaging effect on exercise of trade union rights.
(b) The Committee requests the Government to:
(i) keep it informed of the progress of the investigation to be carried out by the special joint fact-finding body concerning the killings of trade union leaders and members and, in particular, steps taken to investigate the murders allegedly by the complainant which are listed in Appendix I. The Committee firmly trusts that the investigation and trials will proceed without delay and in full independence, so that all responsible parties may be identified and punished before the competent courts as soon as possible and a climate of impunity be avoided;
(ii) establish an independent judicial inquiry and proceedings before the competent courts as soon as possible with regard to the allegations of abductions and disappearances of trade union leaders and members which are listed in Appendix II with a view to shedding full light onto relevant facts an circumstances, and to determine where responsibilities lie, punish the guilty parties and prevent the repetition of similar events;
(iii) keep it informed of progress made in this respect.
(c) Noting that the Government is under a responsibility to take all necessary measures to have the guilty parties identified and punished – in particular by ensuring that witnesses, who are crucial for the successful identification and prosecution of suspects, are effectively protected – and to successfully prevent the repetition of human rights violations, the Committee requests the Government to take all necessary measures without delay to ensure full implementation of the recommendations of the Melo Commission with regard to: (i) the reinforcement of the Witness Protection Program; (ii) legislation to require police and military forces and other government officials to maintain strict chain-of-command responsibility with respect to extrajudicial killings and other offences committed by personnel under their command, control or authority; and (iii) orientation and training of the armed forces.
(d) Deeply regretting the involvement of the army and police in ending the strike in the Hacienda Luisita incident which claimed the lives of at least seven trade union leaders and members and led to the injury of 70 others, the Committee requests the Government to take all necessary measures so as to have an independent investigation carried out into this incident, with a view to identifying and punishing those responsible without further delay, It also requests the Government to give adequate instructions to the law enforcement authorities so as to eliminate the danger entailed by the use of excessive violence when controlling demonstrations. The Committee requests to be kept informed in this respect
(e) Expressing concern at the prolonged presence of the army inside workplaces which is liable to have an intimidating effect on the workers wishing to engage in trade union activities and to create an atmosphere of mistrust which is hardly conducive to harmonious industrial relations, the Committee requests the Government to take measures, including the issuance of appropriate instructions, to bring to an end prolonged military presence inside workplaces.
(f) The Committee requests the Government to give appropriate instructions so as to ensure that any emergency measures aimed at national security do not prevent in any way the exercise of legitimate trade union rights and activities, including strikes, by all trade unions irrespective of their philosophical or political orientation, in climate of complete security. The Committee requests to be kept informed in this respect.
(g) The Committee requests the Government to give specific instructions without delay so as to ensure the strict observance of due process guarantees in the context of any surveillance and interrogation operations by the army and police in a way that guarantees that the rights of workers’ organizations can be exercised in a climate that is free from violence, pressure or threats of any kind against the leaders and members of these organizations. The Committee requests to be kept informed in this respect.
(h) The Committee requests the Government to provide its comments in respect of allegations of harassment and intimidation of trade union leaders and members affiliated to the KMU.
i) The Committee requests the Government to communicate the texts of any judgements handed down in the cases of Crispin Beltran, long time KMU leader, as well as five members of the NFSW who were arrested, and to ensure that all relevant information is gathered in an independent manner so as to shed full light on their situation and the circumstances surrounding their arrest. Should it be determined by the court that they were arrested in relation to trade union activities, the Committee requests the Government to take the necessary measures that they are immediately released.” #
(Next week, part 3: The Committee on Applications of Standards also discussed the complaint of the KMU) nordis.net
LAST OF FOUR PARTS
In the face of the greater challenges posed by the food crisis and climate change, the people now have to struggle even more to confront oppressive structures and institutions. Read the rest of this entry →
By ARTHUR LAPAAN ALLAD-IW
BAGUIO CITY — “Imbag pay dagiti agawid a taga-City Camp lagoon. Ada balay da a danunan da. Haan a kasla kadakami nga awan pulos ta nadidigara” (Evacuees from the City Camp lagoon are fortunate. They have their house to go home to unlike us who lost everything to the calamity.)
This was what 60 year old Benita Sar-ayen said of her family and the 16 families who left the Mansion House on Sunday (October 11) to go back to their residences in different devastated areas here.
Nanang (mother) Benita was among the 20 families who were transferred on Saturday from the Saint Vincent Gym, Naguilian Road to take refuge at the Mansion House, the Malacanang of the North.
It was opened by Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo herself to evacuees in the city on Saturday but most of them had already returned to their homes as fair weather started that day.
Nanang Benita recounted how the floor of her house slowly cracked open on Thursday night, and her family’s hurried evacuation to safer grounds. Like her neighbors, four other houses, her house slowly went down with a landslide to a creek below at Purok 7, Sunny Side, barangay Fairview.
Her only consolation, if such can be considered one, was nobody from her family was hurt when the landslide pulled down at least five houses. “Imbag la ketdi ta in-inut a kasla pakdaar kadakami” (It is fortunate that the slide moved slowly as if it was warning us), she said.
“Massive landslide and earth movement characterized the area during typhoon Pepeng”, said Olive M. Luces, Executive Officer of the Cordillera Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (CDRCC).
There were at least 10 barangays struck by landslides in the city which claimed some 70 lives, according to the City Disaster Coordinating Council (CDCC).
In the height of typhoon Pepeng, more than 317 families mostly from the 10 barangays sought refuge in different evacuation areas in the city, reported the Serve the People Brigade – Cordillera Disaster Response Network (STPB-CDRN), a joint effort of several sectoral and non-government organizations led by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance.
Interviewed Sunday afternoon, Nanang Benita was joined by Corazon and her husband Sammy Lagmayao, and Gina Valdez. Rebecca Wacangan, the fourth family who sought refuge at Mansion House, was taking care of her kids outside. Her mother, Rosa Sar-ayen, more than 70 years old, sat on a makeshift bed in the corner watching us.
All were neighbors from Purok 7, Sunny Side. They narrated how they scrimped and saved as they scraped a living from irregular employment; Corazon and Valdez did laundry while Nanang Benita was into the buy-and-sell of bottles and old news papers.
From their earnings for years of stay in the city, these neighbors were able to build light and small shelters for their families.
Nanang Benita, said in Iloco, “it makes me crazy to think that all my hardwork can disappear in an instant. The house, utensils, everything was taken by the slide. We only had the clothes we wore when we escaped!”
As tears welled in her eyes, her friends joked; “Don’t worry!we have the Mansion House now.” and she forced out a smile.
Like most of her neighbors from their purok, Nanang Benita came from “the province”. She left Sadanga, Mountain Province as a teenager with her family. They rented a small room at Holy Ghost Hill until they finally were able to buy a parcel of land in Purok 7 when, after the 1990 earthquake, land became cheap in the city.
A check in the status of the land in the area showed it was “taken by squatters” earlier and then the “rights” were sold to them. A common story and issue among urban poor communities in this city. But Nanang Benita says that what is important is land for them to build their houses on.
Under the 1909 Charter of Baguio, land can be bought only under the Town Site Sales Application (TSA) system, where land of public domain is awarded to the highest bidder.
Human rights advocates here say, “this foreign-initiated land (TSA) system pushes these settlers to occupy unstable areas – like the peak or foot of the mountains – as they have no money to bid for lands appropriate for residence”.
An urban poor group, Organisasyon Dagiti Nakurapay nga Umili ti Siyudad (Ornus) point out that prime lands in the city are under realty groups and rich individuals who are not actually from the city. This group finds this system as anti-poor hence Baguio is built only for those in the have.
Back to the “ili” (village)
How should the issue of Nanang Benita and her companions, who are now homeless, be addressed? This was raised to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The local DSWD’s Nelly Mazon shared some solutions calamity victims may opt for: first, they maybe encouraged to go back to their provinces of origin, the likes of Nanang Benita. And, second is to stay at the DSWD Silungan centers, but she emphasized that this is only temporary.
Asked if DSWD could help rebuild their houses? She explained that the local government units (LGUs) have the authority to assess and determine who among them could be assisted. She pointed out however that even if these residents passed the requirements, assistance is dependent on the funds of the local government.
For Nanang Benita, she does not buy the idea of going back to her village. She pointed out that the reason for leaving her ili (village) is poverty.
“How can we go back when we have less there to survive in our village?” she asked. She is now being encouraged by her relatives to live with them and face their new struggle.
Majority of the residents in the city are classified as urban poor. Like Nanang Benita, the city government, which happens to be celebrating its Centennial year now must address the rights to shelter, employment, and basic services after they delivered relief as a tactical solution to the calamity, said Ignacio Pangket, an urban poor leader. # nordis.net
By ARTHUR LAPAAN ALLAD-IW
“It came unexpected, like a thief in the night. In a matter of minutes, a roaring landslide swept through our village and instantly claimed the lives of 35 residents.” That is how a survivor described in Kankanaey the worst landslide that hit Sitio Bulala of Kayan East in Tadian, Mountain Province.
Erlina D. Trinidad, 15 years old, was hesitant earlier to tell her story. She tried not to remember the horror. It took the lives of her villagemates, including her parents, a brother, and a sister. More so, she did not like to relive the nightmare that left lifetime scars on her person, her right foot from above her ankle was amputated.
At her hospital bed at the Baguio General Hospital, she described that evening of October 8, a Thursday. It was raining hard and power went-off all over the place. Her father and mother, brother Jonjon, sister Vanessa, and herself went to bed early. A coronation activity was scheduled that night but failed to push through in the height of the typhoon.
At past 6 o’clock in the evening, she heard a loud rumbling sound from the mountain towards their house. In an intant that followed, something so massive hit their house, a second house above, and swept them all down below.
Realizing that a landslide hit them, she shouted for help. She knew then that her brother and sister and their parents were covered by the avalanche.
A man she identified as Gumangan carried and took her a few meters from where she was found. Gumangan went back to look for other victims. As the debris moved down, Erlina was caught and was carried down again. Unable to stand up, she laboured to crawl away but was not able to move much.
She reached out for any liquid that she can use to clear the mud on her eyes. As debris continued to fall down on her, she used her hands to protect her head, particularly from rolling stones. She was slowly being covered by mud and stone when her uncle Bogs Bantasan found her. She was immediately brought to the Barangay Hall where she was cleansed.
While other residents came to the rescue when they were notified by the loud ringing of the bell, Erlina was brought by her brother Richard to the Luis Hora General Hospital. Richard was not in their house as he was out selling balut (duck egg) at the Plaza.
Diagnosed at the Hora Hospital to have major injuries, she was recommended to be transferred to Baguio City. But the Halsema Road linking Mountain Province and Benguet was closed, and so it became apparent that it is only through chopper that Erlina can be brought to Baguio. On her second day at the Hora Hospital, a chopper was arranged by local officials to land in Tadian.
Her trip via chopper was not realized though due to the fog. Instead, she was brought to the Bontoc Hospital instead the next day where she was taken by a chopper to the Baguio General Hospital on October 12.
After a few days of observation at the BGH, Erlina was amputated on October 16. She fbecame depressed, especially when she learned from her sister about the fate of their parents, his brother Jonjon and sister Vanessa. But she was cheered up by her relatives who said: “Baka wada mission mo ay inted apo Dios (Maybe God has a mission for you.)”
She tried to overcome her new situation. Maybe a new life, she thinks, as she is more fortunate than other village mates. Some of her village mates who perished were whole families, like the 33 year old Principal Lecio Gao-ay who died with his wife and two children. Aside from the lives to the landslides, 18 houses were totally destroyed while five were partially destroyed from the total 32 houses in the sitio.
Erlina’s older sister Neneng said that she (Erlina) can walk normally with the help of prosthetics or artificial legs which they would need to raise funds for. It will cost at least one hundred twenty thousand pesos, according to her doctors.
Erlina has also incurred a hip injury. Her sister Neneng said that an operation will be performed after her amputated right foot will heal.
Right now, Neneng needs help for the medication of her sister. On October 16, the injectable Piperacillin Sodium (Tazobactam Sodium) already ran out of stock at the BGH where the said medicine costs one thousand eight hundred pesos and is more expensive outside. The said medicine is needed by Erlina every eight hours.
Erlina will be undergoing therapy after the hip operation and in case she will be using an artificial foot.The therapy period will take time, Neneng explained in the interview.
Erlina is a graduating student at the Holy Rosary High School of Kayan, Tadian. Due to all the procedures she has to undergo, she needs support. For any support, you can visit her at the Baguio General Hospital or you can channel it through her sister, Neneng Trinidad Echanis who is always there to assist Erlina.# nordis.net
By SERVE THE PEOPLE BRIGADE-CORDILLERA DISASTER RESPONSE
Relief and rehab needed in Abra, Mountain Province
BAGUIO CITY— This week, the Serve the People Brigade Cordillera Disaster Response Network trekked dangerous roadcuts and landslides to reach Labey in Bokod municipality to distribute relief goods and conduct monitoring and documentation. 250 families from the communities of Labey, Minac, Lebeng, Banao, Adonot and Sombrero (October 21) benefited from the relief goods generated through the solidarity and generosity of various institutions, organizations, families and individuals who donated through the Brigade.
Meanwhile, 51 individuals benefited from the Brigade’s medical mission with the Community Health, Education, Services and Training in the Cordillera or CHESTCORE on October 19 in Abatan, Buguias, and a total of 171 families were given relief goods in the areas of Paco and Suyoc in Mankayan on October 20th. Earlier on October 18, 70 families were given relief goods in Twin Peaks, Tuba. Food-for-work was also donated in Paco and Suyoc, Mankayan; Lebeng, Bokod and Twin Peaks, Tuba. As of this writing, your donations and hard-earned money has benefited a total of 977 families in Itogon, Tublay, Tuba, Mankayan and Bokod; and 403 families in Baguio City.
In all the relief missions the Brigade undertakes, it is made a point to discuss to the community the causes of the environmental disasters besetting the world for a greater understanding of climate change. Also, what is notable in the Cordillera is the practice of indigenous systems of disaster/emergency response such as the ub-obfo and mabtad. Part of the processing and debriefing of the volunteers for instance in Tadian included the cleansing rituals.
Twin Peaks, TubaBenguet
At Twin Peaks Barangay, 7 individuals were reported missing by local officials while 4 are injured and 1 remains missing from flashfloods and the river that overflowed. Seven houses were totally washed out by the strong rains and mudslide. A total of 43 families are affected by the havoc wrought by Pepeng. To date, there is still no electricity. At the barangay information center, mothers and grandmothers relayed how they scampered for safety amid mudslides, while carrying their children or grandchildren. They showed Brigade members wounds they acquired in the evening of October 8. Community members have already trooped to Sison, Pangasinan to continue searching for the missing. One mother quipped, “We are still afraid that another disaster will happen. Each night, just a small sound from the mountains brings us running outside of our houses with our flashlights to check our surroundings and run to safety.” The community is still in need of food supplies and candles.
Medical volunteers and CHESTCORE have started conducting community debriefing at Twin Peaks including San Jose area in La Trinidad on October 21 and at the Alejo Pacalso National Highschool in Itogon on October 18. This is in collaboration with the Baguio Benguet Mental Health Support Group.
Buguias and Mankayan
51 individuals in the Abatan-Guinaoang communities benefited from the Brigade’s medical mission. In the community of Sharp Curve, 27 casualties were documented while 29 were injured from the massive landslide in the evening of October 8. As of October 22, 2 more bodies were retrieved according to local sources. 12 houses are totally damaged while 10 are partially damaged. The irrigation in Kitang was destroyed while 5 foot bridges from Buknet to Gal-udan, and from Buknet to Pusong, were washed out. Around 400 hectares of vegetable gardens were submerged in Abatan, while 8 fishponds were flooded. Clearly, local livelihood was destroyed. Around 300 individuals evacuated into the homes of their relatives. In Paco, a barangay official expressed thanks to the Brigade for having been the first to extend relief to Mankayan.
In Gueday, Suyoc, Mankayan, 4 houses were totally damaged. In Paco of the same municipality, 4 houses were totally damaged with 5 partially damaged; 4 houses are hanging in Palpaltugan while 2 houses are damaged in San Roque. The airport pathway, Guina-ang Village pathway, Pukitan water tank, Guiamas and Pukitan riprap, Upper Paalaban pathway and other infrastructure were destroyed.
The Brigade specifically extended relief goods and conducted monitoring and documentation in Labey, Minac, Lebeng, Banao, Adonot and Sombrero. The hike to the isolated community of Labey took 17 dangerous landslides and equally dangerous roadcuts. Here, the Lutheran Church and five was totally washed out. Ten families have evacuated into the Baptist Church which is now at the brink of collapse. Local agriculture, particularly rice and vegetable production has been destroyed since the river grew and overflowed in the evening of October 8. Not less than 10 houses are partially damaged. Eleven years old Froilan hoped to go back to school, but with their flooded and mud-filled school building, it did not seem very immediate. The Serve the People Brigade is the first to extend relief right into the heart of the community in Labey. A senior citizen, Manang Eleona, could not hold back her tears as she recounted the night they ran for their lives, and as the relief goods were carried into the evacuation center. Food remains the primary need in Labey, including potable water, clearing tools (shovels), cooking utensils, clothing including medicine for diarrhea, oresol and paracetamol.
In one of the roadcuts where local residents were fixing a dike and clearing the rocks, a short program was held, with a brief input on climate change. This was attended by Mayor Mauricio Makay, while Councilor Pedro Anton, who is also a member of the Benguet Mining Alert and Action Network accompanied the Brigade during the relief missions. On the way home, the Brigade vehicles were almost hit by the rockslide in Tingondan, Itogon. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
Food supplies, clothing, blankets and clearing tools were sent to Tadian and Betwagan Mt. Province through the provincial CPA chapter.
All the casualties at Sitio Bulala, Kayan East, Tadian have been recovered and buried as of October 14th. On October 16, the community had an assessment and planning as to relief and rehabilitation of the area. Basic needs such as food, blankets, kitchen ware remain to be top priority for the families who lost all their belongings in the landslide. The survivors are either living with relatives or are evacuated at the Kayan Elementary School. Community processing is also a priority, as needless to say, the experience is traumatic.
Other families whose homes have been completely covered by landslides are in the following: 12 families in Betwagan, Sadanga; two families in Bunga, Tadian; seven families in Lubon, Tadian, one in Kapinitan, Sabangan. There are 73 other homes which have been partially damaged. Damages to agricultural crops are at conservative government estimates of Php 1.95M. These are the crops ready for harvest but were ruined. A much higher amount should be registered if the rice seedlings and vegetable seedlings as well as crops targeted for December sales shall be computed. Infrastructure damages register at least Php 202.2 M for the main roads; Php45 M in flood control and; Php 6.97M school facilities. Other agricultural infrastructure such as irrigation canals, farm to market pathways and roads, stonewalls are yet to be calculated.
Shortage of food and other commodities such as LPG are felt in far communities. A cavan of rice has hiked up to is P2,100 in the provincial capital of Bontoc—what more in the areas that are totally isolated?
Halsema highway is still closed and the Bontoc-Ifugao road is still too dangerous to traverse although some drivers have stood up to the challenge. DPWH promises to make Halsema passable to all vehicles by October 20th. Power was restored in the main town centers of the province on October 16. This relieves the communities of darkness which adds to their fears as rains are felt in some barangays such as in Sagada.
Although the province fared better than Benguet, Pangasinan or other areas, a large number are affected. This means a large number of poor peasants and even professionals see a bleak situation in the coming months. Last season’s harvests have been terrible. Rice production even in surplus areas of Natonin did not do well. Maket-an, Abungo, Laglag areas registered the most damages as 50% of their rice crops decreased.
There is no second cropping for rice expected by most municipalities and there is little vegetable for the coming months. The farmers need support mechanisms in order to recover from this devastation. So far no immediate medical needs are identified from outside the province as the local medical personal are still adequate in serving the direct victims of the typhoon. In Betwagan, Sadanga, after a community ritual be done by elders, the villagers shall rebuild the destroyed homes through “ob-obbo” (village system of assisting each other through labor exchange).
Although we are all affected by the typhoon, it is good to note that despite difficulties encountered by all, people still gave their time, labor, donations and other support to rescue, retrieve remains of casualties, feed the volunteers and evacuees. The support came from all over the province. For instance, tourist guide organizations were among the first groups to arrive in Kayan on October 9th and continued to stay their in the next months. They went house to house in Sagada collecting food and other donations for the direct victims of the landslide. Sadly, the Philippine Army deployed in the Mt. Province was only able to respond in the Kayan Tragedy on the 4th day – October 12th.
Partial reports from the PDCC dated October 9 state that Malibcong municipality incurred damages amoungting to P7.1 M. Around 2,130 individuals or 423 households are affected by Pepeng. The following particular reports were gathered per district. Needless to say, the poorest peasants are the most affected.
Pepeng’s disaster affected 96 families whiel hundreds of hectares or ricefields were totally affected.
In the Mataragan-Mabaca District, about 2 hectares of farmland was totally washed out, with an estimate of 200 bundles of rice as the usual harvest. Ricefields were also washed out in the communities of Bayabas, Calunosan, and Masil-silat; Dulao, Bulbulgon and Alimaga. Vegetable crops were estimated to have been damaged at around 50%. Twelve irrigation systems were destroyed in the areas of Bayabas, Dulao and Mataragan.
In the Bangilo-Gubang District, 57 irrigation systems were damaged—either fully or partially eroded or washed out. These damages affected 33,500 individuals in the communities therein. Around 1,000 bundles of rice were damaged district-wide, affecting 174 families. Carabaos, a horse, pigs and turkeys died during the typhoon, while local fishponds were flooded (Lat-ey, Umnap, Buanao). In the Malibcong-Banao District, about 200 bundles of rice were damaged in Duldulao, Taripan and Poblacion Malibcong. Washed out irrigation systems and water sources affected 97 families.
In Lacub municipality, an estimated P1 M cost of ricefields and livestock was reported for the areas of Buneg, Lan-ag and Talampac, affecting a total of 239 families. 15 irrigation systems and water sources were partially damaged while footbridges were also washed out. In Licuan Baay, the most affected families are Poblacio Licuan, which is the site of the 2008 Cordillera Day celebration; Cawayan and Dominglay. 438 families are affected in this area. In Sallapadan municipality, the 9 barangays were estimated to have incurred a P32,1 M cost of damages. Interviews with local peasants show that agricultural farmlands were washed out along the Manicbel River. Around 12,000 bundles of rice were lost, and some 65% of their vegetables were destroyed, affecting 265 families.
Immediate relief and seed dispersal are needed in all of these areas.
Reports from Cordillera Peoples Alliance affiliate Save Apayao People’s Organization (SAPO) claim that 14, 690 families or 68, 690 individuals in the whole province are affected by the Pepeng. 2, 809 houses were partially damaged while 312 were totally damaged. An estimated P 1,050, 650,000.00 cost of agriculture and infrastructure was recorded by the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council.
The Serve the People Brigade continues to appeal for your support for the continuing relief of the affected communities. We still need to reach out to Abra and Apayao, while monitoring and documentation needs to be sustained. For the coming weeks until December 2009, the Brigade, with the network of member organizations of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance and the Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera, will look into the rehabilitation activities in areas of Benguet (Mankayan, Itogon, Buguias, Bakun, Bokod, Atok), Mountain Province (Tadian, Betwagan) and Apayao.
Please get in touch with us through Tel No. 063-074-304-4239, Mobile Numbers 09209286370, 09189199007 or email us at email@example.com. You may also visit us at No. 55 Ferguson Road, Baguio City. Our URGENT APPEAL for support and other updates may be downloaded at www.cpaphils.org # With reports from CORDIS-RDS, CPA. Mountain Province, KASTAN-CPA Abra, Save Apayao People’s Organization and MAQUITACDG #nordis.net
Many of us here in Northern Luzon are still mourning the loss of loved ones and the destruction of properties brought about by Typhoon “Pepeng”. Even as we do so, we also realize that we must pick up the pieces and move on, confronted as we are with the gargantuan tasks of rehabilitation to resume our normal lives. Read the rest of this entry →
By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
BAGUIO CITY — Inspite of having won the bid to host the 21st Philippine Advertising Congress (PAC), “fair and square,” as Baguio City Mayor Reinaldo Bautista said, the Advertising Board of the Philippines (Ad Board), organizers of the congress, have chosen to change venue just a month to its date. Read the rest of this entry →
By ARTHUR ALLAD-IW
BAGUIO CITY — Normal supply of basic goods and fuel was assured restored by Wednesday, October 14, as gasoline station owners, supermarket owners and the Department of Trade and Industry here said cargo trucks were already on their way to the city as the three main roads were opened. Read the rest of this entry →
By LULU A. GIMENEZ-APIT-TAKO/CPA RESEARCH
ITOGON, Benguet — A hundred men worked the site by day and 50 by night, using crowbars, pickaxes, hoes, rakes, spades, and water diverted from two springs, to remove the gigantic mound of earth that had fallen on Waldo Gallema, a 49-year old small-scale miner of sitio Dalisay in barangay Gumatdang, Itogon, Benguet. The men finally unearthed Waldo’s body on the 16th of October, after five days and nights of nonstop labor. Read the rest of this entry →
By SERVE THE PEOPLE BRIGADE-CORDILLERA RESPONSE NETWORK
The devastation typhoon Pepeng caused Northern Luzon is distressing. But the overflowing generosity and volunteerism to help victims is inspiring. Truly, the bayanihan spirit is alive. Read the rest of this entry →
By ARTHUR ALLAD-IW
BAGUIO CITY — Amam-a (elders) of the Kankana-ey village of Sitio Bulala in Tadian, Mountain Province conduct cleansing rituals after the residents and rescue volunteers from other nearby towns joined the villagers in bury the last seven retrieved corpses in the community cemetery on Wednesday, October 14.
Daw-es, the ancient cleansing ritual, is performed by the amam-a to cleanse the community from this bad experience that has caused death, injury and sufferings. Read the rest of this entry →
By WENDY ATUBAN WITH REPORTS FROM AILEEN REFUERZO
BAGUIO CITY — Taken by the overwhelming impact of Typhoon Pepeng, whose aftermath left thousands bereaved and homeless, the city council promptly acted to amend the ordinance on standardized financial assistance for disaster victims in favor of almost a 100% increase in monetary aid. Read the rest of this entry →