In a move to expand the university’s assistance to several areas that took a heavy pounding from Pablo, the University President Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ will lend 6 generators to mitigate the need for electric power. In a briefing on 12th December 2012, Fr. Tabora has decided that as part of the university’s operation to assist survivors and places cope with the aftermath of Pablo, it will provide out of the university’s coffers the use not only of solar panels but power generators in key areas in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley.
“Nakita na namo ang kolor sa hangin, itom!”
This piece of assertion expressed in collective certainty reverberated during several group sharings that the community of barangay Haguimitan in Monkayo conveyed to the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) student volunteers, student leaders, faculty members and staff who mounted a relief mission in this hard-hit barangay in Monkayo on Sunday, 23rd December 2012. Shortly after the people lined up to get their relief goods delivered by the Ateneo contingent, headed by the Arrupe Office of Social Formation, in partnership with several student organizations represented by some student leaders and faculty, the members of this IP community of Haguimitan shared what they remembered the most about the early hours of that fateful day on 4th December 2012 when Pablo came as a raging storm, taking a vicious swipe at their homes, their community, and their livelihood.
These pockets of small group sharings demonstrated that this Mandaya community in Compostela Valley has slowly come to terms with the impact that Pablo has brought upon their peaceful lives in this little hillside enclave eight kilometres from the town proper. Adjacent to the old covered court, now reduced into a pile of twisted steel and metal, the students and faculty paused for informal conversations with several groups of children, mothers and barangay officials. The latter eagerly expressed their experience of having to bear with flying galvanized iron sheets and the sight of the whirling wind which they described as color BLACK! It’s not hard to imagine how Cecil B. de Mille of the famed Ten Commandments would have graphically presented a catastrophic scene such as this one, given that this classic film has set the standard for depicting natural calamities on cinema as having the power to make viewers literally “feel” what they “see.”
But as the people in this village grappled with telling their stories of sturm und drang, they practically described the wind in similar terms as the other survivors have rightly said: That it’s like a black “lilo sa hangin” or perhaps “nagtuyok-tuyok nga unos.” After hearing similar stories of this sort, as if to find ways to capture the depth of what the survivors went through, we could only shake our heads in disbelief upon seeing the massive devastation of their village, typical of any sitio and purok in Monkayo from the moment one careens through the national highway. For a lack of a better metaphor, most of us in the team termed the pile of rubble as akin to having been twisted by the proverbial hand of the wind (“gipiko-piko sa kamot sa hangin”) or, as in doing laundy, “murag gikuso-kuso,” or “murag gilubag-lubag,” as one of our drivers aptly said.
In response to request of the indigenous communities that hardly ever received any relief goods since the start of the relief distribution, the Ateneo de Davao University led by its High School unit, and accompanied by a college faculty, went back to New Bataan in Compostela Valley on Thursday, 13th December, to deliver packs of relief goods to the Mansaka and Mandaya communities. These communities, particularly those living along the mountains surrounding the town, took a heavy pounding when the water swelled and washed away villages along the hills, river banks, and streams. Datu Gerry Lindaan, the leader of his community of Mansakas and Mandayas, said that he heard about the Ateneo’s relief assistance from other communities which the university has already served in the ComVal region and in Davao Oriental. “We had difficulty accessing relief goods since the beginning, and we hardly ever received any form of assistance. We heard about the Ateneo’s efforts to extend assistance to survivors of Pablo from other communities, and so we decided to ask direct help from the university itself through Atty. Cabarde.”
Davao City (13 December 2012) — A week after tropical storm (TS) Pablo’s onslaught into the eastern and southern part of Mindanao, the Ateneo de Davao University conducted an initial assessment of its ongoing relief operation. Two separate meetings were called to assess the university’s efforts to send relief and other psychosocial assistance to areas in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, places that sustained massive damages since Pablo’s calamitous landfall a week ago.