For the past several weeks, the media has been filled with stories of the devastation caused by Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) especially in the Municipality of Itogon in Benguet. Where mudslides washed out and destroyed a lot of properties and sources of livelihood and took away lives.
The families of the Baltaken, Bawayan, Doladol, Gansowen, Mendez, Palangyos and Tupac, all from Luneta, Loacan, Itogon, and who are all members of St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, are among the hundreds of families affected by Typhoon Ompong in Itogon, and their stories are no different.
The Doladol and Palangyos Families whose houses were totally washed out are presently residing in Upper Tram in Ucab, Itogon. The Doladol family is still evacuated at the rectory of St. Polycarp’s Episcopal Church in Ucab, while trying to finalize their plan to build their house in a family owned lot somewhere in La Trinidad. The Palangyos family on the other hand is currently renting a place in Ucab.
The other five families whose houses were likewise destroyed, evacuated to their relatives in other parts of the municipality during the aftermath of the typhoon. The Bawayan and Baltaken families in particular, not only have damaged houses but they have lost too their ball mills and other facilities and equipment, which they use in their small-scale mining operations. The Mendez family on the other hand, has to totally demolish their damaged house because its location is highly critical and prone to landslide. At present, all of them have gone back to Luneta to recover their things, and to fix and repair their houses and make it livable again.
These 7 families who are members of our congregation in St. Aidan’s are some of the recipients to the ‘Love Gifts’ (both in kind and in cash) that the Diocese (EDNCP) has received mainly from individual members, from church organizations, from other congregations of the Diocese and other dioceses and from the National Office of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP). The goods and cash were given to them on October 19, 2018 at the St. Polycarp’s Church in Ucab.
The cash may not be that big in amount, the goods may last only for a month or so; however, these were received with joy and gratefulness. It means so much especially at this time that supplies and relief assistance has dwindled and their source of livelihood is quite grim at the moment.
Despite the tragic experience and the loss of properties and livelihood, the members of these families whom we met, were in high spirits and in a very positive mode. They believe that they can overcome the experience and can rise from their losses, with the support of the various people and organizations around. And of course, with the help of God.
Seems like nobody wants or is willing to leave Luneta, when asked if they have plans of moving out of the area. According to them, it is where their livelihood is; it is where they have raised and are raising their families; it is their HOME…. /fedamaguen