Friday, July 21, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT: In Naga City, bakwits from Marawi cry for help



NAGA CITY 7/19/17 (Bicol Standard) – “We have lost everything, except the hope of living again,” 22-year-old Norhana Bonca, one of the 50 or so bakwits or evacuees from war-torn Marawi City who came to Naga City told the BICOL STANDARD.

Now residing in a small and cramped house in Lerma, Bonca narrated that they fled their city after a bomb fell on their rooftop.

“We were feeling very unsafe as we would hear gunfire and bombings all day long,” she said.

Taking only the most basic needs that they could carry, they went to Cagayan de Oro City to escape the crisis.

“We had nothing to eat for a week. We had limited money, and the price of a sack of rice there reached more than 7,000 pesos.”

Some bakwits, she narrated, even turned to eating non-edible items such as Styrofoam, if only to stave off hunger.

Bonca said their group decided to go to Naga City, where they have a relative, Armela Bonca-Paqui.

Bonca-Paqui, who now hosts the evacuees in her home, said she did not hesitate to welcome her relatives, who have nowhere else to go.

“Some of the children are still suffering from trauma. One even has stopped speaking and just lays down in bed all day long because of what they experienced in their village,” she said. “They probably need medical attention."

Meantime, 26-year-old Alinoding Alexander, is being treated at Bicol Medical Center for internal bleeding.

“We are appealing to the good people of Bicol to send us help as we try to rebuild our lives,” Norhana Bonca pleaded, blinking back tears.
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