Infant dies of severe dehydration in quake-hit Makilala, Cotabato

Robie de Guzman   •   November 7, 2019   •   198

An aerial shot taken with a drone shows makeshift shelters at an evacuation center in the earthquake-hit town of Makilala on Mindanao island, Philippines, 01 November 2019. EPA-EFE/CERILO EBRANO

MANILA, Philippines – A six-month-old infant died due to severe dehydration in Makilala town, Cotabato which was among the areas heavily-hit by earthquakes that jolted Mindanao last month.

According to Sheryl Orbita, acting municipal administrator of Makilala, the baby and her family were staying in a makeshift tent outside their home in Barangay Bulatukan due to aftershocks.

She said the baby had recurring fever and rashes on the body when a volunteer doctor visited their place on Sunday.

“Noong Sunday, nag-request na po yung grandmother ng doctor. Pinuntahan po iyan doon noong Sunday, ang inireklamo po is rashes binigyan naman yun ng gamot,” Orbita said.

But the baby’s condition worsened and was rushed to a hospital on Tuesday. Attending physicians declared the infant dead.

“Noong Martes lang po siya binawian ng buhay dahil po sa dehydration, doon lang po sa bahay nila,” Orbita said.

To prevent a similar incident, local authorities advised parents to immediately seek medical help when their relatives, especially children, feel sick or are manifesting symptoms of illness.

The number of people who died in Makilala, Cotabato due to recent quakes in Mindanao now stands at eight following the death of the infant.  

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) said that more than a thousand quake victims were provided with free medical help and consultation following reports on the rising number of evacuees who have fallen ill in Makilala.

There are enough relief goods for all quake victims in the town but evacuees are complaining of the heat and cramped situation of families in tents at evacuation centers, on top of the trauma brought about by the recent tremors.

The local government has appealed for more understanding and assured it is now taking action to decongest evacuation centers.

“Alam namin na ‘yun ang nangyayari sa mga evacuation camps… Kaunting tiis lang po kasi ang LGU ng Makilala ay naghahanap na po ng paraan,” Orbita said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Janice Ingente)

Int’l language center in Malaysia to raise funds for earthquake victims in Mindanao

Marje Pelayo   •   November 20, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – An international language training institution based in Kuala Lumpur is launching a fundraising program for earthquake victims in Mindanao.

Royce Language Center’s Principal Sitinor Khajar Binti Nordin said the collected amount will be donated to families affected by the series of temblor that damaged several houses and structures in the region.

The school official said they have actually received applications from students who are locals of Mindanao and among those badly hit by the disaster.

“We would like to help any number of schools as our priority. Being a language school in Malaysia, we do understand the value of education,” Nordin said.

The principal said they wanted to extend assistance to affected school and students in Mindanao as a way to help them recover from the tragedy.

The RLC is planning to make the fundraising a regular event after its success.

“We have never done that before. This is going to be our first experience,” Nordin said.

“We are looking forward to it and if it goes well, we may make fund-raising one of our usual activities,” she added. – MNP (with reports from Maya Barquez)

With homes still flooded, residents in Cagayan brace anew for ‘Sarah’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 20, 2019

Residents of Cagayan province remain restless after Typhoon Ramon made landfall in the area during the early hours of Wednesday (November 20).

Typhoon Ramon still brought heavy rainfall and strong winds which left several areas in the province submerged in flood. Among the villages affected are barangays Sta. Ana and Gonzaga.

READ: Tropical cyclones ‘Ramon’ and ‘Sarah’ barrel through parts of Cagayan

Merlinda Doblado is among the residents who had to stay awake to monitor the flood.

“Hindi na nga kami pinatulog kasi inaabangan namin iyong pagtaas ng tubig, kasi biglaan (We did not sleep because we were monitoring the flood, it went up too fast),” she said.

Evelyn, another resident recalled they had to cut their dinner short, they did not expect that the flood would increase that fast.

“Tumaas bigla iyong tubig, iniwan namin iyong pagkain diyan sa lamesa. Dali-dali naming binuhat iyong mga gamit at dinala sa mataas (The water suddenly rose, we left the food on the table and took our things upstairs),” she said.

Meanwhile, barangay chairman of Tapel, Gonzaga Danilo Domingo said they had to conduct another evacuation for the resident who already evacuated their homes due to the flood.

“Pagbalik ko dito sa may simbahan hanggang bewang na iyong baha kaya tumawag ako sa MDRRMO [Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office] for rescue nagpadala naman kaagad sila ng truck para i-rescue mga evacuees (When I returned to the church, the flood was already waist deep so I called the MDRRMO for rescue. They immediately sent a truck to rescue the evacuees),” he said.

Aside from homes, several rice fields in the area are also flooded. There are also roads and bridges that were closed to motorists due to landslides and the increase of water level in rivers.

Power cuts were also experienced in Sta. Ana, Gonzaga, Sta. Teresita, Sanchez Mira, Lallo, Appari, and Abulug.

According to the latest report of the Cagayan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), 2,824 families were evacuated.

The PDRRMO also said there were no reports of missing individuals or casualties during the storm. Some of the evacuated families were already allowed to return to their homes.

Marlene Campano and her family are among those who can return home. But she still fears for their safety, especially with another looming storm.

“Umuwi kami. Maawa nalang sa amin ang Panginoon, Dios na po ang bahala (We went home. We leave the rest to God, may God have mercy on us),” she said.

Authorities call on the residents to prepare for possible devastation as tropical depression Sarah intensifies into a tropical storm.—AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

Congress can revoke martial law any time sans anti-terror law amendments — Drilon

Robie de Guzman   •   November 12, 2019

Filipino government troops check a villager at a military checkpoint in the town of Pingcawayan, North Cotabato province, southern Philippines, 21 June 2017. EPA-EFE/CERILO EBRANO

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Tuesday said that the government should not use the proposed amendments to the Human Security Act as a pre-requisite to the lifting of martial law in Mindanao.

Drilon made the statement in response to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s earlier remark that another extension would not be necessary if Congress amends the anti-terror law.

“Do not dangle lifting martial law in Mindanao in exchange for the speedy passage of the Human Security Act,” he said in a statement.

“The passage or non-passage of the amendments to the Human Securities Act is not a ground for extending martial law in Mindanao,” he added.

Citing Section 18, Article VII of the Philippine Constitution, the senator said that it was clear that martial law may be declared if actual rebellion exists, and that Congress may extend the declaration if the rebellion persists and public safety requires it.

“That is the only ground for extension of martial law. But it is clear since day one that the martial law or its extension in Mindanao has no basis,” Drilon said.

“It is high time that we lift (martial law to) bring back normalcy in the region,” he added.

He further stated that Congress can revoke martial law any time sans amendments to the Human Security Act.

He also said that Lorenzana was correct in saying that martial law has been going on for too long but he hopes that the government will not use it “to put pressure on Congress to pass the amendments to the Human Security Act.”

“The non-passage of the amendments to the Human Security Act should not be used as a basis or justification to further extend martial law. The amendments need thorough debates,” Drilon said.

Mindanao has been under martial law since 2017 after the Maute Terror group attacked Marawi City.

The martial law was initially set for 60 days but it was extended until the end of 2017, then until the end of 2018 and to the end of 2019.

It is set to expire on December 31, 2019.

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