Sept. 10 at around 9 p.m. It was raining very hard that evening and most people were probably in their home sleeping comfortably in their beds or staying late working on their computers or watching television. Everyone thought it was just a simple harmless rain . Little did we all know that upper Acub in San Isidro had a landslide and people were crying for help and assistance. The flood water in Carpenter hill was slowly rising and making the road impossible to pass . Motorist were stranded and had to be diverted to Tampakan for them to reach Marbel. I take my hats off to both the Provincial and City Government for a quick response thus averting a more disastrous situation.
Last Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010, the students (GIA Working Students and LEPS students) , together with Alumni who are at the same time HAKBANG volunteers distributed relief goods to the affected families now number 81 at Bacongco Elementary school. Our heartfelt thanks to Alumni of Batch 74 Sol Mangisel- Schmeckel from Germany who sent us 4 sacks of rice so we can distribute these among 81 affected families. thank you Sol for sharing your resources to the residents of Sito Acub. We turned over the relief packs to DSWD workers who were detailed in the elementary school. Susan Garcia-Restauro also of Batch 74 donated cookies which we handed over to the children. Our Batchmates Boy Boldios and Felipe Laguna joined us in the distribution of the relief goods.
We conducted interview with the Purok officials and some residents where they shared their harrowing experience. One person who was out drinking with his friends could not believed that his home was gone and his wife and 10 month old baby were carried by the flood. they died instantly. They remembered just hearing a rambling sound and a loud thud. they knew something was wrong but could not really see what was happening since upper Acub does not have electricity.
The Alumni accompanied the students to do ocular inspection of the flood site. it was a bumpy road up ahead and we were forced to leave our vehicles when we were nearing the landslide area. Alumni Roger Doronio’s elf got stuck in the road and had to be pulled out by a Government vehicle. With nothing else that we could do, It meant , hiking for a few kilometers more.
Remia, Jo and myself were just thankful that rain did not come that day or else we would be buried in the mud since we were awfully slow and could hardly catch up with the students. Husband and wife tandem Nonoy and Liza Aliligay, Ralphy Palencia were walking so fast that they were the only adults who can catch up with the younger ones. Alumni Dan Fresco was left behind to help Roger fix his Elf. What we saw upon reaching the place really shocked us. We saw how mother nature unleashed its fury. The road suddenly turn into a river bed where rocks and solders just block off the entire road. The place was quiet , no sound of children that usually greet us whenever we come to visit their place. The school building remains intact and our paint cans are still there.
Why did this happen? I can only think that perhaps one reason is the slash and burn(Kaingin) practice of the residents. The source of income for them is to sell uling (charcoal). I don’t really know if the trees they cut are even replaced. At any rate, I hope this experience has taught us a valuable lesson in taking care of our environment as this is God’s gift to humanity.
God bless us all!