Thieves start to prey on landslide victims
Evacuees and relatives of the victims of the landslide in Barangay Tinaan, Naga City woke up at 3 a.m. yesterday to hold an Aurora or dawn procession as part of their prayer rites for the 40th day since the tragedy that claimed at least 78 lives.
Many of them also prayed that they would be allowed to return to their homes, saying many thieves were already stealing their belongings.
Serilo Caballero, 57, who was among the 30 people who walked from the Enan Chiong Activity Center (ECAC) in Barangay East Poblacion to Ground Zero said his house on sitio Sindulan was still intact and he wanted to guard it from thieves.
“Kadtong niaging adlaw, nakita nako naa gyuy nasakpan sa mga pulis nga dili taga dinhe. Wala may nakuha niya pero duda ko kawatan to kay nganong kasulod man sa balay sa among silingan nga locked man ang gate?” said Caballero.
(The other day, I saw the police apprehend someone who is not from here. They did not confiscate anything from him but I suspected that he was a thief because he was able to enter the house of my neighbor even if the gate was locked.)
Caballero and his wife are staying inside ECAC, together with thousands more who are still waiting for the go-signal from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as to when they can return home.
“Magpuyo ko kadyut dinhi sa amoa kay di gihapon makumpyansa labi na naa pay mi mga gamit nahibilin sa sulod,” he added.
(I will stay here for a while because we still have some belongings left inside, and we should not be complacent)
PO1 Jiffy Sevilla, one of the 20 policemen from the police stations in Alcoy, Sibonga, and Toledo City deployed to secure Ground Zero from non-residents, confirmed Caballero’s statements.
Sevilla, however, assured the public that they are watching the area and keeping away intruders and that they will only allow those who will either guard their homes or retrieve some of their belongings.
“We haven’t formally received any complaints from those who claimed some of their belongings were allegedly stolen but do not hesitate to report to authorities if it happens to you,” he added.
Meanwhile, Brother Simon Jardinico of the Pusyon Kinaiyahan, in a press conference yesterday said supplies and food are getting sparse and the evacuation sites are reportedly a struggle to enter.
“Ang evacuation center isolated, dili siya basta-basta masudlan bisag kinsa,” (The evacuation centers are isolated. You can’t just enter anytime.) said Jardinico.
Ian Rivera, national coordinator of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), likened the evacuation areas to concentration camps, due to the alleged human rights violations done inside the evacuations centers.
“It is a fake show of concern. Peke na siya (That’s fake),” said Rivera.
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