FFE Magazine

Marooned PH residents see ray of light

by FFE PH News staff


 Photo source: AP

As the major cities of Bohol stagger up from the earthquake that hit on Tuesday, plenty of residents are yet to be rescued. The small village of Tanawan in the municipality of Loon is one of those that were inaccessible due to road damage after the quake, forcing its residents to survive on their own.

But after three days of isolation and fear, the residents of Tanawan finally saw a glimpse of hope as rescuers arrived in their village.

MMDA public safety chief Aldo R. Mayor, who led the team that rescued the villagers of Tanawan, recalled hearing cheers and shouts as they reached the mountain village. ‘Nobody seemed to pay attention to them, so I insisted on going to the rescue because we have to prioritise the living,’ he said.

Tanawan was 7km from Loon’s town centre. Aside from boulders that blocked the roads, there were ravines 200m deep that prevented people from venturing into the village. But Mayor was adamant he should rescue the marooned residents. With the aid of a guide, they created a new trail and tied ropes along the way to help them on their hike back.

Mayor’s group finally reached Tanawan village on Friday.

Manilyn Mandresa, a resident of Tanawan, said ‘When we saw [the rescuers], we all shouted for joy.’

‘We had been waiting for them to arrive [since Thursday], after we were told that we would be rescued.’

Mandresa recalls that the village of 63 residents – 21 of them children – lived on coconut water, boiled bananas and corn while waiting for their rescuers. They also slept on soggy ground under makeshift tents because they feared that falling rocks would harm them.

The children developed coughs from too much exposure, but the rescuers just got in time before their condition grew worse.

Mandresa said she was in Loon when the quake struck. She rushed home to her husband and son in a passenger motorcycle, but could not reach the village because of boulders blocking the path. ‘I climbed over the rocks to get to my son,’ she said. She found them outside their home when she reached Tanawan.

When asked how the rescuers knew about their situation, Mandresa merely said her neighbours told her so. Now safe in an evacuation camp, she said she and her family had no plans of returning to their mountain home. What mattered was that they were safe and together, she said.

Mayor said the residents will be endorsed to the municipal government.

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