January 08, 2012

New Year, New Hope

it's the feast of the epiphany.

i can only offer a prayer of hope for my kababayans. Monsignor's homily hit me hard. and here i am feeling all hopeless and sad for the plight of so many here back home.

have been too distressed over what happened just weeks ago. 'twas the saddest Christmas ever in our community. i had long wanted to write about it but words just won't come. my heart was too crushed over the sorry sights in our place everywhere.

many relatives were still reeling from the floods. some sustained wounds from banging/crushing their feet trying to get out of the ceiling with the muddy waters rising a foot a minute inside their homes. their doors could not be opened due to the pressure of the raging waters outside hence they were trapped inside. a lot of the friends and neighbors we know perished this way- trapped inside their houses! an aunt died, her mother still missing until now; my mom's friend was washed up on the river but alas 5 grandchildren died,with her husband and 1 more granddaughter still missing. theirs were the grief-stricken faces that have been posted and re-posted on facebook countless times.- that of a father carrying his child, and his two sisters on the background wailing for their own dead children alongside him. some more aunts and uncles fought their way to get out of their homes (breaking glass doors/ crushing the ceiling with their hands and feet) and staying on the rooftop until the early morning hours when daybreak came and the waters have receded to waist-deep height. my own brother barely managed to help his friend's family get out of Orchids village before the waters inundated their home along with Bayug island just a few meters across it.

my kuya's family and i arrived days after what happened. but the gloom and sadness was so foreboding, it was heart-wrenching. my relatives took up camp along the roadside near their homes along with many others in the neighborhood. not many went to the camps/relocation areas. not when they have friends and relatives willing to help them recover. and yes, they never received any of the donations that were supposed to have come. the local government will not give to those not staying in the camps/relocation sites. what stupidity! these people who saw fit not to join the already over-crowded centers still deserve to receive their share. a lot of mattresses were donated but these were not given to those not in the camps. wtf?!! the people who did not go there still needed those beds, still needed food, still needed clothing. and because of that, these people have their spirits even more crushed. because a lot of them did not get the proper help from their own local government. the mayor's wife often get shouted at and rejected out of the affected areas as stories started spreading about how she would act high and mighty demanding private donations by civil groups to be centralized in the city centers.

after days of meeting with the city council on the needs of the people in the affected areas and getting frustrated over the inaction and mere lipservice, our parish priest started encouraging those who were willing to help to just go directly to the areas and do their outreach. and all the better. otherwise, the people would have waited in vain. they needed help immediately, and they did not get it. how can local government not release funds at such a crucial time as this? a calamity fund has been accorded to the city but all over the place you can hear people complaining and asking where it was. city officials, have you really been looking after your people's plight? why then is it easier for you to release funds during campaign period than during a calamity when your constituents gravely needed it?

this has been cleaned by Christmas time but alas, so few came for the Eucharistic celebration. on the early morning of Dec 25th, we went to church early but what we were told to be 6am mass became a 7am mass. what usually is teeming with chattering and joyful faces of old folks and children alike on any given Sunday was then the saddest face of Christmass i've ever seen. yes, too few came. i was doing the first reading and as i read the verses assigned to me, i felt saddened by the gloomy faces before me.

below are pics near the bridge. houses have been swept away. look at the debris and giant logs that lodged anywhere thereafter.

here are pics of Orchids Village just a few hundred meters from our place.
hills of mud like this were bulldozed from the roads in Orchid village so that it can be passable once again.

across Orchids is Bayug island, or what's left of it.

on this sight was once a hanging bridge leading to Bayug island. now it has been swept away by the waters. those who want to go the main island now rides on a small banca or raft like this.

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