The earthquake in Davao del Sur last Dec. 15 showed how the local government units (LGUs) and national government were prepared to respond to natural disasters.
The seismic activity with a magnitude of 6.9 damaged several barangays, most of which are indigent communities. The epicentre was close to Matanao, a second-class municipality near the border of Sultan Kudarat. The rural town of Magsaysay was also one of the heavily damaged places.
Thousands of person were displaced, among them Jovita Atao, a 77-year-old resident of Barangay Upper Bala, Magsaysay. Many of the homes in her barangay were flattened by the powerful tremors, leaving the townspeople with nothing. Atao, her two daughters and grandchildren are staying at the Upper Bala Evacuation Center. The local government units have organized other evacuation centers in the disaster areas.
In a humanitarian mission in Matanao and Magsaysay, Senator Risa Hontiveros distributed relief goods such as rice and other essentials to the families and comforted them with words of hope and encouragement.
Hontiveros said the effects of the earthquake, particularly on children, are psychological such as traumas and intense fear of the aftershocks.
She lauded the LGUs and government agencies for their genuine concern and hard work and the first-responders for their courage.
“Most of all, I admire the inner strength of our country men. Indeed, we Filipinos are always resilient and hopeful,” she said.
Hontiveros’ office will continue to solicit donations to provide more support for the humanitarian missions in Mindanao. The island had experienced four major earthquakes in the past few months.
“Bayanihan (concerted effort) is in our blood,” she said.