Palawan gov’t starts rebuilding of houses of Vinta victims in Mangsee Island


The provincial government of Palawan now focuses on helping the victims of
Tropical Storm Vinta in Mangsee Island to rebuild their destroyed houses.

The province said that Vinta brought “unimaginable destruction” in Mangsee Island located in the southwest of Balabac, Palawan and home to about 10,000 people.

“From the remote island barangay in southern Palawan bordering Malaysian waters, the onslaught of Tropical Storm Vinta on the night of December 23, 2017 has wreaked unimaginable destruction in the lives of hapless residents in the locality,” said the province.

The storm devastated the area, destroying more than a thousand houses, and leaving deaths and missing persons.

“Power lines are downed. Important facilities such as schools and health center were not spared. Small houses are flattened to the ground. The enormity of the damage is beyond the imagination of the local residents,” said the province.

The provincial government said that 95% of the population are muslims mostly ethnic Sama indigenous cultural community and their means of livelihood inclufe fishing and barter trading with the neighboring merchants from Kudat, Malaysia.

“Due to limited dwelling space, shanties are found scattered off the beach surrounding the island. The densely-populated atoll is way beyond its carrying capacity thereby causing concerns among local authorities in the areas of health and sanitation, waste disposal, environmental degradation and public safety,” the province said.

The aftermath of the storm left question on how would the victims start their lives anew.

“Rising to the challenge, the provincial government of Palawan led by Governor Jose Chaves Alvarez wasted no time in mobilizing resources to be delivered to the island. Tabang Casimanua was launched by the PGP to mobilize donations and helping hands for the relief operations. Family food packs, bottled water, bales of clothing and medicines are immediately ferried to the island through the air and naval assets provided by the Western Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),” said the province.

Medical workers from the Provincial Health Office (PHO), the Department of Health and the Western Command immediately sent to the place to attend medical needs.

“To date, relief operations spearheaded by the provincial government in partnership with the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) MIMAROPA are continuing in the island until such time when local residents are able to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and what was left of their homes and properties,” the province said.

The province said that rebuilding takes time, but with the bayanihan spirit the once beautiful place will stand tall again.

“Rebuilding a community from a pile of debris takes time and many hands are needed to do the work. The bayanihan collective spirit among Filipinos and among Palaweňos will once again be put to litmus test,” the province said.

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