Quake-hit Makilala town asks for tents, food amid depleted calamity funds

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 01 2019 06:45 PM


Residents from various barangays in Makilala town, Cotabato pitch tents near the municipal hall on November 1, 2019, after government called for evacuation due to the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that rocked Cotabato and neighboring areas the day before. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

KIDAPAWAN CITY — Faced with depleted funds, the municipal government of Makilala town in Cotabato is calling for aid following a series of earthquakes that caused landslides in the area.

Makilala Vice Mayor Ryan Tabanay told ABS-CBN News on Friday that all 38 villages were affected, especially those in the mountain barangays. At least five have been confirmed dead. 

Tabanay said that on Oct. 16, when a 6.3 temblor struck in Tulunan town, the first of three major quakes in the area last month, a massive landslide eroded around 10 hectares of land from a mountain slope, leaving 4 people in Barangay Bato still missing.

“We need tarps (or tents) and food. We are really in need of food because the calamity fund of the municipality is depleted,” he said, explaining how the budget was already spent on relief goods for victims of the Oct. 16 earthquake.

“Now, we are calling [on] the benevolent hearts of our kababayan. Help Makilala. We need immediate help,” he said.

Tabanay said they are thankful to local governments, private companies and groups that have extended assistance to their town.

Currently, there are 9 evacuation centers in different parts of the town.

But even residents from the Poblacion, whose houses were not damaged by the quake, have chosen to sleep outside.

Across City Hall, residents from mountain villages set up temporary shelters using tarps. This as they are concerned about a nearby mountain, where a large area eroded by landslides is visible. 

Day care worker Merly Pulong from Barangay Buenavida said they have nowhere else to go after their houses were buried during Thursday’s landslides.

“Lahat takot na takot kasi 'yung mga bahay namin nasira na talaga. Ang laki ng mga bitak sa lupa,” she said, adding that a Grade 1 student from their village also died.

(Everyone is afraid because our houses were destroyed. And you can see large cracks on the ground.)

Pulong said they need food, water and medicine, especially for children. She said they were expecting more people to arrive so they would need more tents.

The lack of toilets is also a problem among evacuees staying at a vacant lot. 

Despite the crisis they are facing, Tabanay said they are thankful to those who have gone out of their way to go to their town and give relief goods.

“Those little things are a big help to us,” he said.

He also called on his fellow townmates “to be strong.” 

“Kaya natin ito (We can survive this). Although this is the first time that this happened. Babangon tayo (We will rise up),” he said.