By Ben O. Tesiorna
Only on its second day of search and rescue after the onslaught of Super Typhoon Pablo (international code Bopha), the death toll in the two most-ravaged province in Southern Mindanao has already surpassed the hundred mark as of Wednesday.
Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy said on Wednesday that in the town of New Bataan alone, they have already recovered 60 bodies with 245 persons still missing. In the afternoon, the recovered bodies rose to 76 with more than 200 still missing.
In Montevista, six people were also confirmed dead.
The province of Davao Oriental, where the typhoon made a landfall Tuesday morning, also suffered numerous casualties.
In the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council advisory as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, it claimed that Cateel has the most casualties with 59, Baganga 31, Boston 15, Caraga 8, Tarragona and Manay with one each.
Summing it up, there are 197 deaths in the two provinces as of Wednesday.
In the official count of the Office of Civil Defense as of 7 a.m. Wednesday though, there are only 82 confirmed deaths with 24 still missing. The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council in Manila meanwhile confirmed in their 1 p.m. advisory Wednesday that the death toll has reached 95 with 61 injured.
STATE OF CALAMITY
Mati City and Compostela Valley have already been declared under state of calamity.
Mati City Mayor Michelle Rabat said that though they have no deaths compared to other neighboring towns, the city still suffered damages in agriculture and properties.
“Mati has weathered the storm, our people are okay,” Rabat said.
Compostela Valley Representative Maria Carmen Zamora meanwhile urged her constituents to remain strong amidst the trials.
“For all of us facing the wrath of this storm, as it battered down on us, this storm will never dampen our faith and spirit. We must remember that we will see sunlight after this, and we must continue to stand strong in helping one another. Our houses and our fields may be flooded, but we will share with each other the shelter we have over our heads, so that we may emerge from this storm one in our faith and trust in each other, ready to rebuild and to rise again,” she said.
“Padayon kita ng magtinabangay sa usa'g usa tungod kay sa matag usa lang nato makuha ang kaisog ug kusog nga atoang gikinahanglan para malampasan ang mga pagsulay. Dili kita magpatarog, magpabilin kita nga lig-on Comvalenyos,”Zamora added.
HELP POURS IN
The Davao City Government meanwhile sent assistance to the people of Davao Oriental. Mayor Sara Duterte said the city has sent 5,623 food packs to Davao Oriental, which was sent along with the assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Mayor Duterte said she temporarily ordered a stoppage on their food for work program to be able to send help to the typhoon victims in nearby provinces.
"I told them to discontinue food for work and get all the available grocery packs, submit a justification and a revised activity design to use the packs," said the young mayor.
The city is yet to send financial assistance to Davao Oriental since the province has not yet declared a state of calamity.
"The areas should be declared in a state of calamity for us to send financial assistance using disaster funds. As of yesterday pm, wala sila nagdeclare," the mayor said.
"All other previous use of calamity funds for assistance were based on calamity declaration that’s the only time we can use the fund," she added.
Mati City has also approved the sending of relief packs to the towns of Cateel, Baganga, Boston and other affected areas in the province. Mayor Rabat said they are one with their brothers and sisters who have been much affected by the typhoon despite the fact that Mati itself was also devastated by Pablo. BOT