500 residents at the foothills of Mt. Apo forced to flee homes

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KIDAPAWAN CITY — Citing imminent danger, over 500 families residing  at the foothills of Mt. Apo  were forcibly ordered to flee  their homes for safety, the last family was out Wednesday afternoon, November 6, as police and military checkpoints were established to ensure no one  goes back.

The family of Melchor Umpan Bayawan, a Manobo leader and a resident of Sayaban, was the last to get out Wednesday afternoon.

The residents from the villages of Sayaban, Sudsuhayan, Agco and purok 3,4, 5 p 3, 4, 5, 6A & 6B, and 7 are now staying in the different evacuation centers in Kidapawan City.

THE LAST.-Residents from the villages ot Sayaban up to Lake Agko have been ordered to forcibly left their homes for safety after the series of earthquake hit North Cotabato.-Photo by: Melchor Bayawan

Written below is Bayawan’s story, as narrated to Newsline.ph:

Last Tuesday, November 5, Mayor Joseph Evangelista issued ultimatum to all residents to evacuate, citing the recommendation from Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Siesmology (Philvocs) and  the  Environment Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR);

The recommendation was unanimously adopted during the  Inter-Agency Meeting held at the Provincial Capitol in Amas led by the  Provincial Disater Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC);

This will be  effective to all barangays affected  from Kidapawan City,  and the towns of Tulunan, M’lang  and  Makilala which have been identified as “No Build Zone”.

Sir  Jeffrey Perez, the  Supervising Science Research Specialist  of Phivolcs, explained to us that we are  in a danger zone and we need to vacate our place the soonest time possible for our safety citing the possible landslides and mudslides which might happen anytime.

I opted to be the last one to leave, because I need to ensure that everyone is out being a leader of my tribe.

As of now, we are in  a safer ground, but I cannot say, if we are safe from earthquake, because we are living a horrible life, the ground moves almost every minute- or maybe I am paranoid.

We live in tents now, over a shaking ground, but I know this will pass, I always Pray to Apo (GOD) that this crisis that we are facing now will end, children, elderly and almost everyone lie in fear and many have been sick.

I am used to do relief operations, but now, I found myself, a beneficiary of  relief goods. Thank you to the all kind hearted people all over Mindanao.

From Sunrise to dusk , Bayawan said, “I watched the sun, I kept asking myself, what will happen to my family? to the people affected? Where do we go from here?

“I don’t know when can I own a house again, a house stable enough to withstand calamities, a house full of hope,” he added.

Bayawan is just one of the hundreds of families in Southern Mindanao living in uncertainty, authorities has yet to declare they are safe to go back to their homes.-Editha Z Caduaya/

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