Heavy rains, strong winds rip tents at Makilala, Cotabato evacuation sites

Robie de Guzman   •   November 12, 2019   •   1269

 Villagers rest at a makeshift shelter in the earthquake-hit town of Makilala on Mindanao island, Philippines, 01 November 2019. EPA-EFE/CERILO EBRANO

Strong winds and heavy rains destroyed several makeshift tents at two evacuation centers where some of the evacuees in Makilala, North Cotabato are staying following the recent earthquakes that hit Mindanao.

According to a CNEWS report by Raymond Octobre on Tuesday, evacuees endured thunderstorms on Monday afternoon while staying in their temporary shelters in Makilala Central Elementary School.

A cellphone video taken by one of the evacuees showed makeshift tents being destroyed and pulled apart by strong winds and heavy rains coupled with ice pellets.

At the Santos Land evacuation center in Poblacion, Makilala, several tents erected using tarpaulin and bamboo wood were also ripped apart by heavy rains that lasted for almost an hour.

Sheryl Orbita, acting Municipal Administrator of Makilala, assured no one was injured while an individual was brought to a hospital after falling unconscious.

Orbita added that evacuees affected by the heavy rains have been given assistance.

More than 50 families from the Santos Land evacuation center were also transferred to a temporary shelter in Makilala National High School while around 100 other families opted to remain in the area.

“Dinalhan naman din sila ng pagkain doon na luto na tsaka mga damit kasi nabasa yung iba may mga damit doon sa nililipatan nila,” Orbita said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that as of November 12, there are 20 evacuation centers catering to more than 4,700 families in Makilala.

Overall, there are 69 evacuation centers serving a total of 53,612 quake-hit families in Davao and Soccsksargen regions. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Raymond Octobre)

Murder raps filed vs. 8 suspects in N. Cotabato bus bombing – PNP

Robie de Guzman   •   March 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Criminal charges have been filed against eight suspects in the bombing of a passenger bus in North Cotabato on January 27, 2021, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.

In a statement issued Sunday, PNP chief General DeboIld Sinas said murder and frustrated murder charges have been lodged against the suspects who were identified as members of the Al Khobar Group.

The charges were filed before the North Cotabato Provincial Prosecutor Office by the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), he added.

Named as respondents in the case are Salahudin Hassa, Lutre Aman, Tasly Saligan, Norodrin Haman, Datu Ali Camsa, Sandali Sindatok, Jordan Kamad, and Tahir Abubakar, all residents of Datu Paglas, Maguindanao and members of Dawlah Islamiya- Hassan Group.

The Al Khobar Group, is an organized crime group formed out of a dismantled group of operating under the Special Operations Group of MILF in the early 2000s and were responsible for extortion and bombing activities in Central Mindanao, the PNP said.

“We have on-going police operations to scour the areas in Mindanao in pursuit of this terrorist group” Sinas said.

The explosion incident in Cotabato occurred when a unit of Yellow Bus Lines was about to drop a passenger at the National Highway, near an abandoned ticket booth along Barangay Sibsib.

The incident killed one person and injured two others.

In the post-blast investigation by the Team EOD of Cotabato on January 28, 2021, it was concluded that the explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device, which was designed as a radio-controlled improvised explosive device intended to function thru wireless command detonation.

Task Force Davao boosts security after North Cotabato bombing incident

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 29, 2021

The Task Force Davao said it will heighten security in Davao City following the bombing incident in Tulunan, North Cotabato on Wednesday (January 27).

TF Davao Commander Consolito Yecla reported that additional personnel have been deployed to various checkpoints and buses that enter the city are thoroughly inspected.

“We immediately alerted our checkpoints and we conducted a thorough inspection, especially the bus passengers entering Davao City. We inspected the buses utilizing canine dogs and deployed additional personnel in the checkpoints, especially in the Sirawan checkpoint,” he said.

They also advised the management of the Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (DCOTT) to implement the policy of not picking up of passengers outside the terminal.

Meanwhile, Davao City Police Office Chief Colonel Kirby John Kraft said beginning next week, all police stations in the city will have 24-hour checkpoints.

Travelers are also encouraged to cooperate during inspections and residents are reminded of the “no-unattended-baggage” policy, especially at terminals.

One elderly and seven others were hit by shrapnel from an explosion near a Yellow Bus unit on Wednesday. AAC 

Duterte visits, vows aid to quake victims in North Cotabato

Robie de Guzman   •   December 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday assured continued support for residents in North Cotabato towns that were devastated by earthquakes between October to December 15 that shook parts of Mindanao.

“I assure you that the government will continue to help all of you until you are able to get back on your feet and start anew with renewed hope and greater capacity to lead dignified lives,” Duterte said in a speech during his visit to M’lang, North Cotabato.

Aside from meeting quake victims, the chief executive also distributed food packs as well as financial grants to residents from earthquake-stricken towns in the province.

North Cotabato is among the provinces heavily damaged by the series of earthquakes that jolted parts of the Mindanao region.

Last October, the province of Cotabato suffered three succeeding temblors – magnitude 6.3 on October 16, magnitude 6.6 on October 29 and magnitude 6.5 on October 31.

On November 1, a magnitude 5.0 quake struck Makilala, Cotabato just a few hours after a magnitude 5.5 tremor hit waters off Sarangani province.

The latest was a magnitude 6.9 temblor that hit Davao del Sur and shook neighboring areas on December 15.

The earthquakes displaced thousands of residents who are now staying in evacuation shelters.

Duterte said he has ordered the National Housing Authority (NHA) to fast-track the setting up of housing units for those who were rendered homeless by the recent quakes.

The president expressed hope that the assistance he extended will make the victims feel the warmth and joy of the season despite their current situation. He also apologized for not visiting them sooner.

“I condole with you. I share your grief. Sa totoo lang, kaya ako andito, pinilit ko, and I must apologize, I am very sorry that I couldn’t be here immediately. Marami hong problema sa Maynila,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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