In Baungon, ‘lessons from Sendong prepared us for Pablo’

Volunteers help steer a bamboo raft carrying relief goods from the provincial government across the Tumalaong River after Sendong destroyed the bridge in the area| Walter Balane

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News.Net/11 December) In Baungon, the town worst hit by Sendong in Bukidnon last year, people faced ‘Pablo’ with more readiness, although the pain of loss is still there, said Richard Capin, the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office staff who reported to the provincial government about the damage left by the typhoon to the town last week.

As of December 3, the day before the typhoon hit the province, about 702 families or a total of 3,042 persons fled their homes on account of preemptive evacuation. The Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council accounted a total of 4,160 families or 20,338 residents affected by ‘Pablo.’

The MDRRMC reported only one casualty to Pablo identified as Estilita Pat, 77 of Brgy. Pualas.

She died in the afternoon the typhoon passed the town. She had a ‘nervous attack’. Respondents told the MDRRMC that she was reacting to their unroofed house and that of their neighbors’.

In December 2011, Sendong claimed 28 lives in the town with 17 injured and 53 missing persons.

“This time we have prepared for ‘Pablo.’ No one was able to prepare for the havoc of Sendong,” Capin said.

He cited at least three exposure trainings were held by the local government unit and a non-government organization as partner. He said the trainings include a pre-disaster preparation seminar, climate change adaptation, and flood drill. He cited that the barangay chair, the Barangay DRRMC officer, the treasurer, and secretary.

In the morning of December 3, the MDRRMC convened to finalize preparations. After lunch, he added, the Barangay DRRMC started evacuations in at least 11 high risk areas including Lingating, Liboran, Buenavista, and Pualas, where there were also casualties left by tropical storm Sendong.

In Lingating, where 11 died due to Sendong, about 74 families or 309 persons sought refuge in the Old Brgy. Hall.

The biggest evacuation was in Langaon where 169 families or 681 persons trooped to a church building and the Barangay Hall.
Because of two destroyed hanging bridges to the village it is still isolated as of December 10. The village lost two residents to Sendong last year, Capin noted.

‘Pablo’ left 46 houses totally damaged and 801 partially damaged in the town. But Capin said they are lucky that ‘Pablo’ only brought strong winds with not much rains.

In Bubunawan River, where a power facility was swept by Sendong the water level was only 8 meters unlike in Nicdao where it was 39 meters.

He said the Municipal DRRMC already recommended placing the town under ‘state of calamity’ for approval  by the Sangguniang Bayan next Wednesday.

In her report, Nenita Navarez, municipal DRRMC operations officer and municipal social welfare and development officer, recommended that the construction and rehabilitation of destroyed bridges be sped up.

She cited that the impassable and inaccessible foot bridges have hampered economic activity and added to the difficulty of transporting agricultural products.

She reported that ‘Pablo’ destroyed three provincial government funded hanging bridges and five spill ways in the town estimated to cost P22.87 million.

One of the spillways, she noted, is the Tumalaong spillway which connects the Poblacion to seven barangays. She said they need to speed up restoration of the spillway, which was destroyed by Sendong last year.

As of 4p.m. Monday, the town was among nine towns, namely San Fernando, Cabanglasan, Talakag, Damulog, Libona, Quezon, Dangcagan, and Pangantucan which submitted their final report for damages brought by typhoon Pablo on time.

The PDRRMC set December 10 as deadline for submission of final reports in preparation for the provincial board regular session on Wednesday.

Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. cited P126 million available calamity funds from the provincial government when the provincial board passed the resolution declaring the province under ‘state of calamity’ last Thursday.  (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News.Net)