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Mudflows, erosion threaten town of Malilipot in Albay

Milagros “Mila” Buates, 52, mother of eight children, a resident of Purok 1, San Roque, Malilipot, Albay, is one of the heads of the families identified as beneficiary of the “Pakaplog (pandesal, kape, itlog)” package Kusog Bicolandia is giving to the victims of Typhoon Ulysses in Bicol region.

Kusog Bicolandia, founded and chaired by Noel de Luna, participates in Bicol’s development by lobbying the concerns of the region to the national government and undertakes initiatives that contribute to the upliftment of Bicolanos as well.

Patiently waiting in line to get a sack of rice, a tray of egg, and bottled water and pandesal from Kusog Bikolandia’s relief efforts recently, Buates is among the representatives of 70 families given the Pakaplog package.

The 70 families are currently housed at San Roque Elementary School in Malilipot town since they have nowhere to go yet

because their houses were built in the area the government declared “no man’s land.”

After receiving her relief package, Buates kept her share at the room where they are staying temporarily.

Later, she headed back to the no man’s land area to check on her home built within a parcel of one-hectare land, which she and her two other siblings inherited from their parents.

Buates’ home is situated in front of the provincial road where a fissure has formed. It eroded to more than a 100-foot chasm overlooking the Bulawan River down to the San Jose bridge that connects Tabaco City, Malinao and Tiwi in Albay’s first district and continues to Sangay and Rinconada area in Camarines Sur.

She used to have a store in her home along the road that connects the village of Calbayog, which was cut off completely after the series of typhoons battered Albay.

Typhoons “Quinta,””Rolly,” and “Ulysess” created a big fissure on earth as walls of rampaging volcanic materials tumbled down the Bulawan River, endangering the lives of 65 families or 261 persons in the area. Buates and her family have to abandon their 30-year-old house where all her eight children grew up. “I got married at 14 to my husband Romeo who is 10 years older. He is now 62 and it is difficult for us to build a new home now considering that our source of income is gone due to a series of typhoons and the pandemic,” she said.

Buates has no idea where the government will relocate them as they are about to leave the land their parents purchased.

RESIDENTS of San Roque, Malilipot, Albay with the relief goods given by Kusog Bicolandia.

“Though it’s hard, we need to leave for our safety. But while waiting for the housing to be provided by the government, I’m returning every day to our house to cook our food and take a bath as the evacuation center has no water,” she said.

Buates is happy and grateful that they received a sack of rice from Kusog Bikolandia, the biggest assistance they received since staying at the evacuation center.

Inside their home is an image of Our Lady of Manaoag, which she has kept for 15 years now with the belief that it protects and guards their house.

The evacuation center, according to Buates, needs water.

“We are requesting the local government unit to provide us water through the Bureau of Fire Protection fire truck to ease our burden,” she said.

Buates’ village, San Roque, has 2,277 population based on the 2015 census.

Originally, 65 families needed to be relocated, but after the assessment of the Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB), the number of families increased, according to village chief Josefina Vinas.

Vinas said 102 out of 686 families are staying at San Roque Elementary School.

She said the 102 families lived within 50 meters of the road that caved in progressively since 2015 and widened to Purok 1 and Purok 5.

Vinas is appealing to the National Housing Authority (NHA) to provide housing to affected families in the danger zone immediately.

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