#TabangBohol: Relief goods finally reach isolated towns

Voltaire Tupaz

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DSWD needs more volunteers in Cebu and Bohol

AFTERMATH. A familiar sight in Bohol. Photo by EPA

TAGBILARAN CITY, Philippines – Twenty-three-year old Arnel Lapastida has been staring at the dark sky and sea since the ship left the port of Cebu for Tagbilaran City at 10 pm, Wednesday, October 16. He hasn’t had sleep since he heard about the powerful earthquake that shook Bohol a day earlier.

We took the same boat trip to Tagbilaran with him. He told us he had come all the way from Masbate, where he’s finishing his internship as a seaman at a shipping company. Cash-strapped, his only hope is to see his wife and 5-month old son by sunrise – safe and sound asleep. They sought refuge on higher ground, fearing that their house near a cliff might give in to tremors.

A mountainous area, their village – Napo Ilaud in the remote town of Alicia – is vulnerable to landslides. Lapastida frets that his family might not have anything left to eat. Relief assistance has yet to reach their area.

At least 2 landslides have already occurred in the neighboring villages of Del Monte and Sudlon, according to Ruben Boy Banting, field coordinator of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Central Visayas.

Alicia Mayor Marnilou Ayuban has already ordered the evacuation of affected residents.

The other towns of Loon and Maribojoc are totally isolated. Relief goods can only be brought by boat. For other areas, like Tagbilaran City, people have to walk to bring relief goods to families and evacuation centers.

As of Wednesday night, October 16, the DSWD in Bohol only managed to bring relief goods to Tagbilaran and the town of Maribojoc.

The DSWD office in region 7 delivered 1,400 sacks of family food packs to Maribojoc  using a river boat or bandong that navigated the Abatan River.

“The people there can’t send text messages since they don’t have electricity right now,” DSWD Regional Director Mercedita Jabagat said. “Despite difficulty in reaching the town due to landslides, destroyed roads and bridges, we were the first one to respond in Maribojoc,” DSWD Director Joel Espejo told Rappler.

DANGER ZONE. Roads in Bohol are damaged. Photo by EPA

The quake damaged at least 23 roads in the province; 5 are impassable. Eighteen bridges are impassable and 3 are collapsing. (READ: Bohol towns isolated)

Bohol, the epicenter of the 7.2-magnitude quake that shook Central Visayas and parts of Mindanao, has been hardest hit, with at least 146 of its residents killed. On Thursday, October 17, the number of reported damaged homes jumped to 2,066 across Bohol and Cebu, 605 of them totally damaged.

Espejo was deployed to Bohol with 13 others from DSWD’s national and regional offices to augment the department’s relief efforts in the province.

Espejo said they are trying to assess the situation in 34 other towns.


The priority for Thursday, October 17, is to reach the isolated town of Loon, one of the worst affected areas in Bohol.

As of posting, DSWD is preparing to dispatch 1,850 emergency food packs, 5,000 bottles of water, and 25 tents to Loon, where there are 4 evacuation centers.

Nearly 60,000 earthquake survivors trooped to 47 evacuation centers in Bohol, including the new 11 centers that were opened as of 6am, Thursday.

Jabagat announced the DSWD field offices are now accepting in-kind and cash donations for the earthquake survivors in Central Visayas.

DEVASTATION. It will take months for Bohol to recover. Photo by EPA

Call for donations and volunteers

Donations can be brought to these addresses in Cebu and Bohol:

DSWD-7 Regional Office Corner M.J Cuenco and General Maxilom Avenues Cebu City

Earthquake emergency hotline: (032) 232-9507

Look for Supply Officer Edward Dapiton

DSWD Social Welfare and Development Team Office (SWAD) Circumferential Road, Dampas District Tagbilaran City, Bohol

Earthquake emergency hotline: (038) 501-9365

Look for Bohol Team Leader Papiasa Bustrillos.

DSWD is calling out for more volunteers in Cebu and Bohol to help with the repacking of relief goods for earthquake survivors. – Rappler.com

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