CBCP head visits quake victims in North Cotabato
By Roy Lagarde
November 5, 2019
The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines visited the survivors of the recent earthquakes, which killed 22 people and displaced thousands of people in Mindanao.
Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, CBCP President, traveled to North Cobatato on Monday and offered words of consolation to survivors in one of the worst-hit towns of Makilala.
Accompanied by Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of Kidapawan, they also visited families still living in temporary shelters, and those assisting in relief efforts.
Speaking over Radio Veritas on Tuesday, Valles said the church’s relief and rehabilitation efforts will also focus on “pocket of evacuees” who refused to leave their damaged homes.
“The diocese (Kidapawan) will also focus their efforts on those who are not in the main identified (evacuation) centers,” he said.
“Bishop Bagaforo will program their help to the affected families by identifying and locating these pockets of evacuees,” Valles said.
Archbishop Valles and the bishops of the suffragan dioceses of Davao will also meet on Nov. 6 to discuss further measures to help other quake-affected areas.
The CBCP head has launched an appeal for the earthquake victims, particularly in the dioceses of Kidapawan and Digos in Davao del Sur.
“I appeal again for more help to ease the sufferings and pains of our brothers and sisters,” said Valles.
The government reported that last month’s series of tremors destroyed over 21,000 homes and 7,200 partially damaged, mostly in the towns of Makilala and Tulunan.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, more than 870 schools were also damaged and has hampered the education of over 3.4 million students.
The earthquakes also damaged more than 70 health facilities and 80 other public structures, as well as over 25 bridges in regions 11 and 12.
The NDRMMC also said that over 188,000 people are affected in about 240 barangays, and some 24,000 people are staying in evacuation centers.
Caritas Philippines, the CBCP’s humanitarian arm, and its partners and other church organizations have been assisting quake-hit communities.
The church agency said many victims are still in urgent need of food, water, mosquito nets, hygiene kits, and materials for temporary shelters like tents.
Caritas Manila and Quiapo Church have also sent an initial P1 million to aid in the relief efforts of the Kidapawan diocese.