Landslide victims remember their dead
Seventy-five-year-old Anacorita Lobiano used to spend All Souls’ Day visiting her departed parents and other relatives together with her daughters Anabelle, Aracelie and Analiza, and great grandchild Lance.
The Lobianos would stay at the cemetery, from noon till dusk, cleaning the graves of their loved ones and praying the novena for the dead.
All this went on for years until this year’s All Souls Day celebration when Anacorita — known as Nanay Coring to her neighbors — will be visiting the dead without Anabelle, Aracelie nor Lance.
In fact, the graves of her daughters and great grandchild will be among those that she will visit as she offers prayers for the dead.
Anabelle, 52; Aracelie, 50; and Lance,7, were among the casualties of a massive landslide that wiped out Sitios Sindulan and Tagaytay in Barangay Tinaan, City of Naga, last September which claimed at least 78 lives.
Nanay Coring describes the pain of losing three members of her family as a grim nightmare that continues to haunt her.
Nanay Coring lived with her daughters Anabelle, Aracelie and Analiza, Anabelle’s daughter Rose Marie and her son, Lance.
On the morning of September 20, she was with Analiza in their ‘sari-sari’ store across their home in Sitio Sindulan when the landslide occurred.
Rose Marie was also covered with debris but was lucky to survive the tragedy unlike her mother, aunt and son.
“Ang among balay naa man didto sa bungtod. Naa ko sa tindahan sa ubos natog kuyog sa akong apo (Lance) ug si Analiza unya kay inig mata niya (Lance)motungas man gyod na sya sa amoa kay mobalhin og tapad ni Anabelle. Mao to nga naapil gyod siya (Our house was at the slope. Lance, Analiza and I slept at the store but when he woke up, he went up to the house to sleep beside Anabelle. And so that is why he also died.),” recalled Nanay Coring.
“Sakit uy. Lahi man gud ang kamatayon sa kalit ug kamatayon nga nasakit. Kung nasakit, makaserbisyo pa man ka. Unya kini kalit kaayo di ko kasabot unsa kasakit (It is very painful. It’s different when your loved ones die of an illness and when you lose them suddenly. Had they died of an illness, I could have taken care of them first and served them. I could not understand the pain.),” said Nanay Coring.
Last October 29, the 40th day since the tragedy, Nanay Coring and Analiza visited the graves of their three family members for the first time.
They lighted candles and offered prayers.
As she marks the celebration of All Souls’ Day for the first time without her daughters and great grandchild, Nanay Coring said that “maybe it is time to move on and surrender them to the creator.”
“Bisan unsaon di na man gyod mabalik. Ang niagi di na gyod mobalik. Ka usa ra gyod ta moagi ning kalibutana, moagi ra gyod ta ug di ta magpabilin (No matter what I do, I cannot bring them back. We pass this world only once — we are all just passing by and no one is left here to stay for all time),” said Nanay Coring showing much of the wisdom that she has gained from a long life.
Nanay Coring said she draws her motivation and strength to move on from her daughter, Analiza and granddaughter Rose Marie.
“Maningkamot ko nga makarecover. Hinay-hinay lang gyod. Lisod man pod kung magpalabi ta og kaguol kay naa pa man poy nahibilin nga nagkinahanglan (I will try my best to recover. I can’t just wallow in pain because there are still those left that need me),” she said.
“Lisod kaayo. Naay panahon nga makahinumdom ka sa ilang mga lihok sa ilang mga gipangbuhat unya makahinumdom ka nga wala na diay sila. Sakit gyod kaayo (It’s very painful. There are times when I remember the things that they did and then I’d remember that they are no longer around),” she said.
Call for justice
Landslide victims continue to cry for justice for the death of their loved ones.
Alan Sayson, 38, brother of one of the casualties said that they will submit their affidavit to a group of volunteer lawyers who are preparing a P1-billion class suit against Apo Land and Quarry Corporation (ALQC), the Naga City government, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“We just want justice because they are the reason for the landslide in Sindulan,” said Sayson in Cebuano.
Their legal team, headed by environmental lawyer Benjamin Cabrido, initially planned to file the case in time for the 40th day commemoration of the landslide but postponed the action as some victims had yet to file their affidavits.
Although she believes that the quarry operations of ALQC may have contributed to the landslide, Nanay Coring had no plans of joining the class suit.
“Kung mohatag sila og assistance, akong dawaton. Kung dili, ilaha pod na. Ang sa ako, di kabayran og bisan unsa nga kantidad ang kinabuhi nga nawala (If they will give assistance I will accept it; but my point is, no amount of money can ever pag for the lives we lost),” said Nanay Coring.
Nanay Coring is awaiting the advice of the Naga City government on the victims’ relocation.
She hoped that they would be given financial assistance from government until they would be settled in their new home.
A new home, said Nanay Coring, will be her stepping stone to start a new life.
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