Posts Tagged ‘Iligan city’

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Community Floods

January 6, 2009

Rain had been pelting in Iligan for several days before last Saturday night. I usually don’t care about the weather as long as I am safe inside the house and tucked in for the night. I just hide under my blanket and pillows if it’s too cold, or have my electric fan running all night if it’s too hot. That night, however, I sensed a strange nudging that reminded me about the families assigned to my care in the Tambacan community. I then made a quick prayer, “Lord, protect my families in the community. In Jesus’ name. Amen,” then quickly retreated to sleep.
I only learned later the next day that a tragedy had occurred while I slept. The light rains in Iligan had heavy counterparts in the mountains. Water from these mountains fed rivers and streams, which poured down the city. It was about 3am in the morning when they overflew; and flooded the towns of Bayug, Manuang, and Tambacan.
About 7,840 families were displaced totaling to some 38,674 persons in Northern Mindanao. Cagayan de Oro bore the brunt in terms of property damage and persons affected.
Yesterday, a classmate mentioned that most of the families left their houses during the flash flood. Some of them slept on the highways as the evacuation centers had not yet been opened. Some of these families were also expecting aid from the ones who regularly went to them for “survey”*. A visit to the Barangay Captain** made the situation bleaker, he mentioned that our community was the hardest hit. So it was no wonder that I was prepared for the worst when I stepped inside the community.
Mud paved the dirt road to my families. Children scampered as they played. Well meaning folks told us to go the other way as the usual short cuts were too mushy for stepping. People stared at us as some of us ventured wearing clean, all-white apparel in an environment that stands as a stain reservoir. In short; except for the increased mud volume, the community was just as it was when we left it for the Christmas break. It seemed that the houses were already looking their normal selves, despite the fact that many of them had water reaching their residents’ shoulders 3 days ago.
I went to my families, and was relieved to find that their housing complex still stood strong. Despite the fact that their houses were just beside the river, they were among the few in the area were no water even managed to reach their doors.
They mentioned that the water level in the river rose to the height of the dyke, and was a few inches to their doors. Fortunately, the river stopped rising, and their houses were saved from flood damage.
The same, however, cannot be said for those living below the dyke level. A break*** in the dyke caused water to flow to what should have been protected areas.
As I returned to my classmate’s car, I thanked God for protecting my families. I also prayed that He continue to watch over the community as it seeks to rise from their recent ordeal. I could see that they are hardy enough to withstand future calamities. If only they were given the necessary boosts from the city and from landowners…

*That would be us, medical students.
** The barangay is the basic unit of the Philippine government. It is headed by the barangay captain.
***Residents blame the break on someone with the family name Lluch won’t allow the city government to build a dyke on the land. Either the city government is not offering enough compensation, or the landowner is asking for too much. Yet it is the people who suffer in such battles.

Sources:
1. Flashfloods hit Iligan City villages
2. Arroyo orders quick aid for flash flood victims in Mindanao
3. Heavy rains, flash floods mark start of New Year
4. Arroyo to visit flood victims in north Mindanao

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Suspects:Muslim Women

December 18, 2008

UPDATE: (Current news reveal that the suspects were men in Arab gear. Confusion regarding the sex of the suspects may have been due to the similarity of the form enclosing Arab gear of both sexes. Disregard post. I’m keeping it open for posterity’s sake.)

I thought the day would not come when Filipino Muslim women would take up arms in the cause of terror.
Apparently, 2 of them just recently did. A closed circuit television video camera (CCTV) recording from Unicity reveals women in full Muslim religious clothing* checking in baggage that were recognized to have contained the bombs that blew up at Unicity and Jerry’s Shoppers Plaza earlier today.
Two deaths and the wounding of 45 others resulted from their actions. I’m afraid this is only the beginning of more terror. Male suicide bombers might come next. Female suicide bombers might come later.
I must admit that despite growing up Christian in a predominantly Christian city, I had never been afraid of seeing Muslim women wearing full religious clothing. This incident, however, has given me alarm. Unless I know who is inside that Islamic gear, I don’t think I would be able to stay within sight of a fully veiled Muslim woman.

*The type where only the eyes can be barely seen.

SOURCE:
1) 2 dead as blasts rock Iligan

PS The News link mentioned that women were involved. Current investigation reveals that men were involved. Just as well. I won’t be going near a fully veiled Muslim woman, or someone in Arabic gear anytime soon.

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A Time to Arm?

August 25, 2008

The prices of rice and oil are not the only “commodities” that have gone up around here. The prices of guns have also gone up!
Due to recent terrorist atrocities of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), many of the Christian population have decided to arm themselves. According to Mayor Cruz, armed Iliganons have said they do not want to continue “playing underdog“. Rebels will have a hard time doing an all out offensive in this city. It seems the citizens themselves will fight them, with or without military help.
Nevertheless, the rebels are pursuing non-confrontational strategies. Just recently, a grenade was seen in the city center. This incident, however, would not cow the Iliganons, this will just prove to them that they need to be more vigilant.
Iligan, however, is not the only city suffering from the law of supply and demand associated with guns. General Santos City seems to be having the same problem. Gun prices there have increased to more than 100%.
The Mindanao populace is tired of the same old government versus MILF game. For dozens of times in history, the military had the power to finally crush those rebels, but newer peace talks always prevented them from destroying them completely. Peace talks only gave the MILF time to regroup, and power to strike again at a later time. Should history repeat itself and the government fooled by another peace treaty, the government would find a different situation among the civilians. Many of them are already bearing arms. Many of them have also taken Vice Governor Piñol’s words to heart:
If the government cannot defend us, then WE WILL DEFEND OURSELVES.

Source:
1. Iligan folk seek St. Michael help, also bear arms
2. Grenade recovered from Iligan City’s business district
3. War ups gun prices, drains bullet stock in Mindanao
4. Gov’t-MILF clashes go on in Cotabato

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Iligan City Hall Sights

August 20, 2008

Considering that the military is in hot pursuit of the murdering Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) terrorists, and that several tanks and troops are stationed in Iligan, that Bravo terrorist would find it hard to even dare attack the city.

Here are some snapshots of our defenders.
Tank2
Here’s a tank and some soldiers I saw parked at the foot of the hill where the Iligan City Hall stands.

Tank
Here’s the same tank shown at another angle.

Here are a few of several dozen cars and jeeps parked around the City Hall. Something secret is definitely afoot here.
Cars
Defense Meetings perhaps?

PS My suspicions were correct after all. Here’s what happened:
The Frustrated general walks out of meeting with Iligan City execs .

Here’s a quote from the link:
[Also during the meeting, Iligan City councilors blamed the current government for allowing the MILF, the largest secessionist group in the country, to return to the camps seized by the military in the all-out war in 2000.]

–AIE BALAGTAS SEE, GMANews.TV

At last, our voices are being heard…

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Viva Iligan!

August 20, 2008

Amid rumored MILF attacks and after the panic last night, Iligan seemed normal today.
I was expecting a subdued air, and perhaps see a little Christian vs. Muslim animosity, but nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary, at least on the outside. I’m not so sure about what is going inside of the people’s minds.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but think of the words of our Mayor, Laurence Cruz as he appealed for calm to the panicked citizens of last night. I couldn’t recall his exact words but after hearing them in a replay this morning, I couldn’t help but be inspired. His words made me proud to be Iliganon. The people made a good choice in making him Mayor.
In the speech, he appealed for:

Calm.
Bravery.
Community.
And Solidarity.

He also urged community leaders to lead the people under them, to prepare for the worst, and fight if the need arose. He also mentioned the presence of the tanks and the several thousand strong army defending Iligan.
He also mentioned that the people of Iligan should not be afraid because God and Senior San Miguel was on our side. He closed his speech with a, “Viva Senior San Miguel!,” to which the people heartily replied a “Viva”.
Although, I’m Protestant and do not agree with Catholic veneration of saints and even angels, I could not help but realize that the Mayor was speaking the heart language of the Iliganon, something that they could understand. He was speaking the old language of the Spanish times at the time when the citizens of the old fort of Iligan defended the fort and even waged battle against the Moros. Historically, even though Iligan was just a doorstep away from the Moro stronghold of Marawi, it was never conquered by Muslims despite the fact that at that time their pirates raided Christian towns as far away as Luzon.
The citizens attributed the miracle of Iligan’s fortitude to San Miguel, known in English as St. Michael the Archangel. Legends about miracles against invading Moros abound in Iligan folk history. In the legends, marauding Muslims would suddenly lose sight of Iligan as they move in to conquer. All they would see would be a large basin of water that corresponded to the land of Iligan. Other legends mention Muslims seeing a very beautiful lady and a child with wings poised above Iligan. The old ones say that the lady is the virgin Mary and the winged child is San Miguel.
When the mayor appealed to the intercession of San Miguel, he let loose words that were spoken only during the fiesta, a day when Catholic Iliganons celebrate San Miguel’s protection over the city. He awakened the latent racial memory of the Iliganons, and let them remember that throughout history Iligan had withstood violent Muslims.
Now that a new violent Muslim threat in the form of the terrorist MILF stands poised to attack Iligan, Mayor Cruz instilled hope and confidence to the populace that the city would survive and perhaps even come out strong now that they are rallying under the banner of God and Senior San Miguel.

As a Protestant, I, of course, would not rally under the banner of San Miguel. Yet for the sake of the safety of Iligan I would rally under the banner of Mayor Laurence Cruz.
“Maayong Iligan! Viva Iligan!”

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Panic in Iligan

August 19, 2008

Panic struck the city center earlier this night. People flocked to the City Hall for protection by military forces stationed there. Text messages soon followed warning of imminent MILF attacks.
Much of the rest of the populace is now in anticipatory mood.
General Luna of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has issued his statement for the populace to remain calm and to trust in them. He has also appealed to the citizens not to forward these messages as they only bring more harm than good.

PS I just heard this piece of news. It seems that this incident was sparked by a drunk who shouted,”M-I*.”

*A word used around here for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) terrorists.

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Bomb Threat Tomorrow!

August 18, 2008

I’ve just received a new text message that purports to be originally from someone who was told by concerned Muslims:

Ayaw jd pglaag2 ugma.ny moboto na bomb 2mrrw.pls lng jd.
Don’t go loitering tomorrow. A bomb will blow up tomorrow. Please.