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Government agencies converge to Limasawa Island

limasawa island relief

January 7, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – Regional line government units converged to Limasawa island on Jan 7, 2022 to pour-in more assistance to the Municipality of Limasawa following President Duterte's order to ensure typhoon victims will not sleep without roof.

According to Cpt Ryan Layug, military spokesperson in Region 8, a Philippine Air Force reconnaissance aircraft was immediately dispatched on Dec 17, 2021 to assess the damage caused by typhoon Odette. It was immediately disclosed to the public that 90% of existing structures in Limasawa were totally damaged, while the remaining 10% were severely damaged. Most of the small boats of the fishermen were also damaged leaving the Island municipality isolated. Two small boats were even blown up by strong winds towards the top of a hill, about half kilometer from the shore.

"Simbahan ra gyud mi nanagan tanan, naa pa gani pumpboat gilupad ni Odette padulong sa tuktok sa bukid dadto oh sa punuan sa cellsite (The church became our sole shelter, there were even pumbboat blown away on top of the hill in the cellsite)" a resident said pointing on the cell tower at the hilltop of the barangay. She also mentioned that have they not pushed themselves inside the unfinished 3-storey church, where 200-300 residents of Brgy Magallanes sought shelter, many could have died. Sea water and from ocean surge reached the houses, pushed and washed away all the debris. A resident said it was a miracle that in Brgy Magallanes, only one died.

"Nakakapanghinayang, mahigit 70% ng mga pananim, lalo na puno ng niyog, ang natumba at naputol. Nagkasirasira din ang mga bangka. Halos walang natirang maayos na bahay." Major General Edgardo De Leon, AFP Commander in Eastern Visayas or JTF Storm said.

The AFP in Region 8 sent soldiers in typhoon affected areas to assist the residents and facilitate relief operation. Carpentry-skilled teams of soldiers were deployed to help make temporary pantry and sanitation area. According to MGen De Leon: “scaled down muna ang military operations para bigyang daan ang pagtulong ng mga sundalo sa mga nasalanta ng bagyo. Nagkakarpintero muna ang mga sundalo natin para tumulong sa pagkumpuni ng mga nasirang bahay.”

Limasawa Mayor Melchor Petracorta broke into tears as he expressed gratitude to the government agencies’ non-stop convergence effort to help. "Ramdam na ramdam namin ang presensya ng gobyerno natin, nandyan sila para sa amin. Maraming salamat". Mayor Petracorta encouraged his constituents to replicate by waking up early at 5AM everyday to expedite their recovery process, particularly the repair of homes and pumpboats. He coined the "Magsipag at Magtulungan, para ang Pagbangon Hindi Matatagalan" as new motto for the people of Limasawa.

The AFP and PCG has been helping in the logistics requirement of RDRRMC, transporting relief goods to the Island. "We along with other government agencies like OCD, DSWD, DILG and other agencies in Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council will exhaust all effort to help our people in the entire Southern Leyte get back on their foot. We are thankful for their understanding of our shortcomings but we are most especially touched when they say babangon tayo sir." De Leon added.

OCD distributed family, house repair and sanitation kits while DSWD handed Family Food Packs. The AFP sent manpower, able-bodied to help rebuild homes.