Photographers embark on risky relief operations in isolated Itogon village

admin   •   September 26, 2018   •   3261


Members of the Baguio-Benguet photographers, hikers, artists club take on dangerous trails to bring relief goods to the remote village of Saldine after Typhoon Ompong isolated it by triggering landslides that blocked roads leading to it.


BENGUET, Philippines — Several places in Itogon, Benguet remain isolated more than a week after typhoon Ompong struck the province.

These include Saldine Village after roads leading to it were blocked by landslides.

Last Saturday, September 22, members of the Baguio-Benguet photographers, hikers, artists club, namely Clinton Aniversario, Gabriel Braulio Jr, Jethro Gatdula, Jhael Pua and Rey Costina headed to Saldine Village.

From Baguio City, they packed some relief goods they bought out of their own pockets and gathered from their friends.

“Kasi kung hindi dahil sa drive ng UNTV na mag-distribute ng relief drive sa Luneta, hindi namin makiita iyon. Baka nandoon kami sa ibang lugar. Buti na lang at sumama kami sa first drive nila,” said photographer Clinton Aniversario.

They trekked their way from trail Tuding to Saldine since vehicles could no longer be used to traverse the impassable roads.

The group trudged for hours, enduring muddy trails, steep and undulating hills, and deep cliffs to reach the village.

“Around five kilometers ang layo pero dahil sa may buhat-buhat kami na times two yung layo… pero sa aming experience na hikers, alam na po namin kasi nasubukan na rin naming nadulas kaya nag-safety precaution rin kami para hindi kami maging casualty rin. Ang nagpahirap din na isa ay umuulan noong araw na iyon, kaya madulas din ang daan,” said Aniversario.

The group took photos of the surroundings in between breaks of their taxing journey, to show to people who have never heard of the said village in Northern Luzon.

The photos they took clearly showed the devastating effects that typhoon Ompong left in the remote area.

Iyon ang pinakamagandang pakiramdam, kasi biglang maalis yung pagod mo na makita mo silang tuwang tuwa. Hindi mo na mairerecord yung tuwa nila kasi ikaw natutuwa ka na rin. Buti naalala niyo kami. Kami yung first na nakaalala. Sabi namin, kami tagabuhat lang kami. Ang pasalamatan niyo po yung mga nagbigay,” said the photographer.

Clinton and his colleagues believe that being a follower of art, their efforts do not only stop in their masterpiece, but it extends to becoming part of the solution of problems that are caused by disasters. — Jun Soriao | UNTV News & Rescue



IATF places Cagayan, Apayao, Benguet back to MECQ due to high COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Northern provinces Cagayan, Apayao, and Benguet have reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) after recording high cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The MECQ status will take effect on May 11 until May 23.

As of May 10, Cagayan has 4,657 cases followed by Benguet with 531 and Apayao with 63.

Business operations in the said areas will be limited according to the directive of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

A liquor ban will be implemented while religious gatherings will only be allowed at 10% capacity.  Entertainment and recreational events also be suspended.

Benguet governor Melchor Diclas reported that majority of the COVID-19 cases in their area are severe. Hospitals in Benguet are also in short supply of respirators.

“Dumadami talaga ang mga pasyente natin. Marami ang namamatay at marami ang nagkakasakit ng critical at serious. Ang respirator natin may nagagamit tayong 13 na respirator. Ang bakante nalang ay dalawa,” he said.

(Our patients are increasing. Many have died and many are in critical or serious condition. We have 13 respirators but there are only two available units left.)

Hospitals in Apayao, meanwhile, are at 80% critical level.  In Cagayan Province, Governor Manuel Mamba said Tuguegarao City’s home quarantine setup is still contributing to the rising cases of COVID-19.

“Hindi magiging epektibo ang MECQ sa Tuguegarao City hangga’t may home quarantine,” he said.

(MECQ in Tuguegarao City will not be effective as long as home quarantine is being implemented .)

Mamba continues to reiterate the need to build isolation facilities in Tuguegarao to accommodate COVID-19 patients. AAC (With reports from Marvin Calas)



200 miners and families locked down inside bunkhouse in Itogon, Benguet

Marje Pelayo   •   October 27, 2020

BENGUET PROVINCE, Philippines — A total of 200 miners and their families have been locked down inside a bunkhouse in a mining community in Itogon, Benguet after a number of miners tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The local government and health officials in the area have agreed to subject all bunkhouse occupants to the same COVID-19 management protocols being applied to positive cases.

According to Governor Melchor Diclas, inside the bunkhouse were also the 44 miners who first contracted the disease. 

“Ang nag-positive dyan ay 40 plus another nadagdagan kaya mga 50. Kaya ang decision diyan dahil walang paglalagyan pa na quarantine facility kaya ginawa natin na yung bunkhouse na ang quarantine facility o isolation facility doon, (Around 40 people initially tested positive then the number increased to more than 50. So we decided, since there is no quarantine facility available, the bunkhouse itself will be their quarantine facility or isolation facility),” the governor said. 

All positive cases are confined on the third and fourth floors of the building while those who are not sick occupy the ground floor and second floor as they await the result of their swab tests.

While they are inside the bunkhouse, the local government is currently working on establishing an isolation facility where the infected families will be transferred.

On Thursday (October 22), another 74 miners were among the 93 new COVID-19 cases reported in the province, the highest number since the outbreak started in the Cordillera region.

Most miners and their families who tested positive for the disease were from crowded mining communities of Stio Luneta in Barangay Loacan, Sitio Sangilo in Poblacion, Sitio Balatoc in Virac and Barangay Ampucao.

Overall, the province has reported a total of 872 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 426 of which recovered and 11 died of the disease. MNP (with reports from Grace Doctolero)

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DSWD lauds Benguet town residents for waiving slots in SAP

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 4, 2020

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has lauded the village residents in Benguet for waiving their Social Amelioration Program (SAP) slots.

Thirty-five residents in Barangay Gambang in Bakun, Benguet opted not to receive their emergency cash subsidy under SAP to accommodate more qualified families.

“The individuals’ families were initially targeted as SAP beneficiaries, but they voluntarily waived their slots prior to validation so that other families in need in their communities will be accommodated in the program,” the DSWD said in a statement.

There are a total of 74,369 SAP beneficiaries in the Benguet Province with  2,439 family beneficiaries in the town of Bakun. AAC


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