Due to bad weather:State of calamity

Due to bad weather:State of calamity

CEBU, Philippines —  The islands of Olango, Caohagan, Caubian, and Pangan-an in Lapu-Lapu City were placed under a state of calamity due to scarcity of food, fuel, and medicine following a week of practically getting cut off from the mainland because of bad weather conditions.

Nagiel Bañacia, head of Lapu-Lapu City’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said the CDRRMC declaration will be forwarded to the City Council for approval so that funds can be released to address pressing concerns at the islands.

Bañacia said the City Social Welfare Office is asking for P7 million to replenish its stocks of rice, canned goods, and other non-food items.

He said at least 150 sacks of rice will be transported to the islands, as the gale warning is expected to be lifted today.

At least 2,189 families at the islands were affected by the weeklong gale warning that prevented them from fishing – their main source of food and livelihood – and from travelling to the mainland to work.

The bad weather also suspended tourist trips, another source of livelihood for the islands’ residents, and stranded local and foreign tourists.

“Depleted na pud ang mga medicines sa isla. Daghan na pud mga trabahante ug mga estudyante ang absent. Naa sad mga local ug international tourists nga na-stranded (They have ran out of medicines. Workers and students have been absent, and local and foreign tourists have been stranded because they could not cross to the mainland),” Bañacia said.

Yesterday, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan airlifted relief goods to Olango Island with the help of two choppers from the Philippine Air Force Air Mobility Command.

“It is difficult for our people to cross the island or to the mainland because of the bad weather brought by the southwest monsoon. And the security of the people is our utmost concern and that is why we would not recommend to travel until there is a signal from the Coast Guard and Marina that the Gale warning has been lifted,” Chan said in a Facebook post.

The Philippine Coast Guard also started transporting relief goods and transported people who have been stranded through MRRV 4406 (BRP SULUAN), said PCG-7 spokesperson, Lt. Junior Grade Michael John Encina.

Olango Situation

Because of lack of fuel, residents in Olango experienced rotational brownouts, which was necessary to avoid fuel from getting depleted completely.

Sta. Rosa Barangay Captain Francisco Gilig, Jr. said upon advice by the Mactan Electric Company, some boat operators donated fuel to the power supplier.

MECO has said the fuel supply for the diesel powered generators of Bussbar Corp. and Salcon Power Corporation that are powering Olango Island is running low.

Their fuel reserves were reportedly stuck at Hilton Port.

“In the meantime, power is managed through rotational brownout but if the fuel shipment won’t arrive, fuel supply of the power plants is projected to last until tomorrow only,” reads the MECO advisory last Thursday.

Bañacia said considering the 15-minute distance, they will recommend for the Maritime Industry Authority to allow commercial vessels with more than 250 gross tonnage to travel from the Hilton Wharf to Sta. Rosa Wharf, in Olango Island because Olango is still very dependent on mainland Mactan.

Ma. Theresa Mata, evaluator at the Santa Rosa Parish in Olango, said the Coast Guard should have just allowed boats to cross.

“Makaya ra man gud unta sa amo mga boatman ang paglabang, pero O.A. lang gyud ang Coast Guard. Kaduol ra’s Olango… it takes 15 to 20 minutes ang palabang. Mailhan ra man gud na kon di na mada og labang kay ang mga boatman nay mobalibad (Out boatman could have navigated the crossing because Olango is very near. The Coast Guard’s decision to cancel travels was O.A. We will know if it will be unmanageable because the boatman himself will not sail),” Mata said.

Mata said their pharmacies at the island have run out of stocks, particularly on medicine for high blood pressure.

With two gasoline stations running out of fuel, unscrupulous gasoline retailers allegedly started selling gasoline at P100 per liter.

The Coast Guard did not allow pump boats to travel yesterday after a motor banca capsized last Wednesday when it insisted on crossing the sea despite poor weather conditions. Eight passengers had to be rescued from huge waves.

The island residents decided to cross reportedly because they have been absent from work for several days already.

Among those whose work was interrupted is Bjorn Norman, a Norwegian social worker doing community-based drug rehabilitation in Olango.

“I had appointment with consular in Lapu-Lapu City last Monday and I will be a week delayed, first time during seven years,” Norman told The Freeman. —  JMO (FREEMAN)



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