The Habagat has brought us pain. Aside from damages in the farms, two teenagers went missing. A worst situation in a community that we don’t want to happen-and as much as we want to find them quickly after they were reported as missing, the circumstances warrant otherwise. The Waters in the river was violent and turbid – a sign of danger to our rescue teams.
It hurts us the way it hurts their relatives and the community because the only possible action is to wait until the river subsides. But waiting doesn’t mean doing nothing. In this period, the La Trinidad Accredited Community Disaster Volunteers (LTACDV) are with the employees of the La Trinidad LGU doing the necessary plans. Not everyone knows this which makes them derive the assumption that their government is not doing anything. But this action is the important part of the search operation after all.
The earlier days of operations was under the responsibility of the Local Government Unit of Barangay Wangal. The La Trinidad MDRRMC won’t go anywhere far as they are still in-charge of Logistics and Safety. This is part of the strategies and tactics because these kind of search operations on rivers with rocks and boulders may extend as long as the missing persons are found. The locals went on to the option of water contact to search inside the waters. At one point, they were requesting for scuba gears. We have available gears, however, our safety officer said no. Technicalities revealed that using such gear would increase risk because the river might just easily pull them in.
As the search goes down below Barangay Wangal, political boundary suggests the use of area command mechanism. Barangay Bineng Officials offered their capacity and services to augment search operations efforts within their area of responsibility. They even took the responsibility to coordinate with their neighboring Barangay Banengbeng in the Municipality of Sablan for the next schedule of the operation soon. A commendable act of helping a fellow LGU in need.
While the operations are on-going, help were coming. City DRRM of Baguio came when they were requested by the relatives to help. K9 teams of the BFP and PNP were also utilized. Donations from various organizations and Agencies were received. And community volunteers are continuously coming in.
There is hope! And part of our job is to keep it burning and make it happen! Just Before Tropical Depression Jenny comes in, the search teams are working at Barangay Kamog, Sablan. The plan has to be implemented before Jenny changes the course of the river just yet.
Commendation is due to all those who continuously support the DRRM Search Operations for our missing brothers from Wangal, La Trinidad, Benguet. Barangay Wangal and Barangay Bineng Officials, tanods, and community members in particular, displayed best example of helping one another which I will never forget. May their example inspire other Local Government Units to do the same, not just during disasters, but in everyday living.
To the relatives and friends of our dear missing brothers, your Municipal DRRM will always support you in all possible and safe means, to find them. Let’s help each other, and together, we shall succeed.