Marikina residents won't evacuate? 'Isip-isip 'pag may time'
MANILA, Philippines – It was almost 6 at night on Tuesday, August 20, and the air in flood-stricken Malanday, Marikina City, reverberated with calls from rescuers convincing residents to evacuate.
Sticking their heads out of their rescue truck, around 5 men in fatigues called on the residents: “Okay lang kayo? Sakay na! Isip-isip 'pag may time!” (Are you all okay? Come ride with us! Think well about it!)
But after almost an hour, only two families came with the rescuers.
At least 20 families, on the other hand, chose to ignore their calls. Most of the residents waved at the truck, while others gamely posed before our camera. (Watch more in Rappler's video report.)
“Natatakot kami, baka umabot ng gabi, baka umabot ng second floor. Nadala na kami nung ni-rescue kami nung habagat,” said Annabelle Bitualla, a Malanday resident who evacuated. (We’re afraid, because nighttime might come with the flood reaching the second floor.)
Like Bitualla, at least 21,976 Marikina residents have evacuated because of the monsoon rain enhanced by tropical storm Maring.
These Marikina residents form part of the more than 700,000 persons affected by Maring across Luzon.
'God will provide'
Unlike Bitualla, a family in Provident Village in Marikina refused to evacuate. Danding Punzalan said he tried to convince his family to leave, but his wife and children didn’t want to. His family said they have a second floor anyway.
He spoke to Rappler minutes after the Marikina City government raised alert level 4 after the river breached the 18-meter mark – which means forced evacuation for nearby residents.
“Nandoon na 'yung takot pero mahirap din naman sa evacuation center eh. Kasi sanay ka nang nasa sarili kang pamamahay kaysa mapupunta ka sa evacuation. Dito, si God na ang bahala kung ano'ng mangyayari sa amin. Hindi naman kami nag-iisang mamamatay o mata-trap sa itaas ng bahay,” Bitualla said.
(The fear is there, but it’s difficult to stay in an evacuation center. We’re used to staying in our own house instead of staying in the evacuation center. Here, we leave to God whatever will happen to us. It’s not as if we’re alone in possibly dying or getting trapped in the house.)
Residents said they expect flooding every year anyway. Every year, too, it’s a story of residents refusing to leave even after the government has ordered them to do so. – Rappler.com