Residents from the off-grid island of Pamilacan in Baclayon have appealed to the Bohol Electric Cooperative (BOHECO) I to hasten the restoration of damaged power facilities in the wake of Typhoon “Odette” that left the fishing village without electricity which they need not just for their basic needs, but also to keep their aquamarine products fresh.
Nemesia Pinkian, one of three island villagers who trooped to station dyRD on Wednesday to air their appeal to the power distributor, said they have been unable to keep their fish products fresh before selling these in the mainland.
“Mao nay among [problema] didto kay ang ubang tawo is mananagat…inig kuha sa isda sa panagat inag ka hapon maglisod mi pag baligya kay buntag naman namo ibaligya sa mainland. Maglisod mi kay wa man miy kuryente, asa man namo e-ice,” said Pingkian.
There are 385 households in the island who depend on a power generator and solar panels, which are both run by the BOHECO I.
The fuel-fired generator and the solar panels provided electricity at night and day, respectively, at the island village but both have no longer been operational since the storm hit on December 16.
She said that electric posts for distribution lines which were toppled by the storm have not yet been restored.
“Ang ilang giingon busy pa kuno ang mga taga BOHECO,” said Pinkian. “Ang mga line namo na gikan sa mga balay, na-connect na. Ang problema namo karon kay hantod gikan pag connect adto, wa na man puy nahibalik na taga BOHECO.”
For his part, BOHECO I spokesperson Alger Siga said they already have 10 replacement posts in mainland Baclayon that are awaiting transport to the island.
“Pagkakaron, duna na tay initial na gipadala na poste sa Baclayon, pag haul nalang anang poste padung didto sa Pamilican mao nay atong gi-negotiate didto sa kapitan na mapadala ng poste didto,” said Siga.
However, he said that based on their assessment, they need to repair or replace around 30 electric posts in the island.
The distribution utility also has to prepare accommodations for their personnel who he note will be working on the electric posts for several days.
“Sunod na mga concern ana ang atong staff, or mga taw na mo trabaho ana didto kay di man gyud na mahuman og usa ka adlaw ng maong gidaghanon,” he added.
BOHECO I has also sent a ground drill to Pamilican so residents can start digging holes for the posts.
The BOHECO I official appealed for understanding as he noted that the firm also has its hands full in the restoration of the slew of distribution lines in the mainland which were also damaged by the typhoon.
“Tabangan na nato kay og ang atong taw maoy mo buho ana, sa gidaghanon sa atong gi accommodate karon pa ma-restore ang power diri sa mainland, kinahanglan gyud ta og external na tabang,” said Siga.
Elvira Geronimo, also a Pamilican resident, lamented that the island has already lost two of its top sources of livelihood, tourism and fishing, due to both the pandemic and the storm.
Pamilican is home to around seven resorts which prior to the pandemic, drew both local and foreign tourists.
“Dalawang taon na kaming naghihirap because of the pandemic. We accepted that kasi talagang buong mundo yan eh. Pero itong hirap namin dahil sa walang kuryente, hindi na tama kasi unang-una off-grid kami,” said Geronimo.
“Wala na nga kaming turismo tapos yung pangingisda apektado pa. Malayo kami sa mainland, wala kaming pagkain na fresh kasi namamalengke kami so ang pagkain lang namin isang araw, every week kami namimili, isipin mo yung hirap ng bawat tao,” she added.
According to the residents, at least 20 houses in the village were totally damaged by Typhoon “Odette” while dozens of fishing boats were also destroyed by the storm. (RT)