On October 27, 2022, Typhoon Paeng devastated various parts of Maguindanao causing extensive flooding and landslides. The typhoon resulted in the evacuation of the indigenous Teduray people from all across Maguindanao after they lost their homes and loved ones.
Past midnight on October 27, the horrible tragedy befell the entire Relocation Site of Sitio Tinabon, Barangay Kusiong, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao where the landslide and flash flood occurred. Many of the residents acquired wounds on various parts of their body. According to the authorities, only 23 bodies have been recovered from the relocation site so far, and many are still searching for their relatives. The majority of the affected are Teduray people and Muslims. The survivors were brought to the designated evacuation center of Broce Elementary School, Episcopal Diocese Compound in Cotabato City, Tamontaka at Awang, Datu Odin, Sinsuat, Maguindanao.
According to Marjorie Limbungan’s narrative, an indigenous Teduray and survivor, they had escaped minutes before the landslide in Brgy. Kusiong, but as they were leaving the area they heard shouts and cries followed by the sound of raging water and rocks. The next morning, they returned to their homes, only to find that the houses had been buried in rocks and soil.
“The rain was very loud from 7pm until midnight…most of our neighbors were already asleep. We heard a siren from the Episcopal church and immediately yelled that we needed to evacuate already…the others had trouble leaving because the water was falling so hard, combined with mud and rocks,” Marjorie said.
According to Janeth Mokudef, an indigenous Teduray woman living in Brgy. Kusiong, they used to live in Sitio Tinabon near the sea, however because of the construction of beach resorts in their area they were displaced to a relocation site near the foot of the mountain in Brgy. Kusiong on December 1, 2022.
“We did not want to be moved there [relocation site] but there wasn’t anything we could do because that was the only place we could live. We did not want it because we would be crowded there. But they turned our old home into a beach resort so we lived there at the relocation site,” Janeth recounted.
The distribution of relief to those devastated by Typhoon Paeng is ongoing. The search for the remaining missing residents is still ongoing as well, led by the BARMM rescue team, Cotabato City Bureau of Fire Protection, AFP, PNP, and Coastguard.
A ritual was held with the leadership of the Kemamal Kaadatan (KK) spiritual leaders at the Relocation Sites themselves in Sitio Tinabon, Barangay Kusiong to ask forgiveness from the ancestors and request the Lord’s guidance in healing and bringing strength to the bereaved families of the dead.
They also implore the government to direct their attention to the state of the indigenous communities in Maguindanao that have experienced displacement due to stealing of their ancestral lands.
This article is the Ensligh translation of another article published in Filipino. Read the original article: Bagyong Paeng nagdulot ng malawakang pagbaha at matinding pinsala sa mga katutubo sa Maguindanao.