There’s no place like home for Estelita

By: Leo Udtohan April 12,2017 - 09:41 PM
Some residents opt to remain in the evacuation center in public schools like Nabuad Elementary School while waiting for the end of the fighting between suspected members of Abu Sayyaf and government troopers in nearby Barangay Napo, INabanga town, Bohol. (INQUIRER PHOTO/LEO UDTOHAN)

Some residents opt to remain in the evacuation center in public schools like Nabuad Elementary School while waiting for the end of the fighting between suspected members of Abu Sayyaf and government troopers in nearby Barangay Napo, Inabanga town, Bohol. (INQUIRER PHOTO/LEO UDTOHAN)

INABANGA, Bohol– Tuesday was the longest night for Estelita Esto, 27, as she wrapped her two children- Nicole,1, and Wisley, 3, in blanket to protect them from mosquito bites and the cold evening.

Esto and other residents of Barangay Liloan Sur of this town were grateful they were evacuated to the Nabuad Elementary School at the height of the fierce fighting between government troops and members of the Islamic militant group Abu Sayyaf early on Tuesday but all they could think of was when they could go home.

“It is better to be in our home but we are still scared to go home because it is not yet safe to go back,” she added.

But the evacuees might be able to go home by today after military and police officials declared the threat of the armed men had been contained and the town cleared has been cleared of the bandit group.

Lt. General Oscar Lactao, commander of the Armed Forces Central Command, and Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), said the evacuees can go back to their homes once the Scene of the Crime Operatives were done processing the bodies of the six suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members who were killed in the fighting.

Although the threat had been contained, clearing operations were still ongoing to look for the other ASG members who were able to escape.

Saying goodbye

It was a piece of good news of the least 3,000 residents here had been staying in the evacuation centers.

Jemmylito Logrono, 23, a resident of Liloan Norte who stayed at the municipal gym, also wanted to go home so he could pay his respects to his grandmother, Beatriz Labandero, 80, who died at 6 p.m. on Tuesday during the exchange of gunfire.

He said Labandero was sickly and had refused to evacuate.

She trembled in fear and died at the height of the airstrikes, Logrono said.

In Barangay Napo, at least 600 families have opted to remain in evacuation center on Wednesday.

In Sitio Ilaya where the exchange of fire happened, the houses were silent.

Although some residents came to check on their belongings, they hurriedly returned to the evacuation center.

Most of the residents in the affected village are engaged in farming, said Napo Barangay Captain Columbus Estoce.

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TAGS: Abu Sayyaf, Armed Forces Central Command, army, bohol, Estelita Esto, evacuaees, homes, Liloan Sur, Nabuad Elementary School, Napo, police, troops

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