Mindanao is a region known for its best weather condition compared with the two other neighbouring regions. However, this time people in Mindano had a tough time coping with the devastation done by the recent tropical storm Tembin. The Tempest not only pummelled the region two days before Christmas Eve, but also killed close to 200 people. Another 150 still remain missing.
The merciless storm crashed mountains that buried 200 houses and transformed communities into floating villages in one province alone. The water level of rivers quickly rose and it was soon too late to evacuate.
One resident said, "the water just came and covered our homes just a split of a second". The two-day storm has caused the displacement of 70,000 civilians and most of them will be celebrating Christmas without a home.
Tembin also taught the government a lesson. According to Lanao del Norte Governor Imedla Quibranza-Dimaporo, the quarrying has destroyed the mountains that were supposed to protect the communities from the tropical storm. She said that the deforested mountains contributed to the dozens of mudslides that killed most of her constituents. She has raised a question why quarrying activities continue in her province despite the depleted trees in mountainous villages. She also asked permits should not be granted to quarrying companies especially in her region.
Other provinces affected by storm Tembin were Zamboanga del Norte, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and the cities of Davao and Cagayan de Oro. The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council was reactivated to address the needs of civilians.
Thus, the damage brought by the tropical storm in the Philippines is a good example of how human encroachment not only damages environment but affects lives of ordinary people also. Mindanao cannot afford to lose 200 precious lives again, following the deaths caused by increasing terror activities in the region.
Last year, At least 16 people, including a police officer, were injured in a blast outside a Catholic church. Jay Virador, a priest who was present at the service, said the explosion hit the churchgoers, who were attending a series of Christmas Eve masses at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Santo Nino in the farming town of Midsayap.
In 2015, as many as 15 people were killed in Christmas day attacks by Muslim rebels in the southern Philippines.