Relief operations in the Cordillera region

by the Serve the People Brigade-Cordillera Disaster Response Network


Baguio City


Posted: October 13, 2009




Oct. 14 breaking news:


 Hunger besets Cordi communities due to Pepeng  disasters;

Greater support requestee from public





The situation necessitates urgent disaster response, such that CPA and the Center for Development  Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC) organized a disaster response body composed of its network of organizations, which is the Serve the People Brigade-Cordillera Disaster Response Network. The name  is historic, as it is derived from the disaster response initiatives of Cordillera activists during the 1972  floods and the killer quake in July 1990. This response is also rooted in the indigenous tradition of cooperation and collective action in times of disaster or in emergency situations.


Photos courtesy of Cordillera People's Alliance


October 9, 2009


BAGUIO CITY—The Cordillera Region in Northern Luzon,  homeland of indigenous peoples collectively known as Igorots, is  one of the areas hit most with Typhoon Pepeng, after the supertyphoon Ondoy. This mountainous region may not have  been as victimized by the flood, but the very nature of the land and terrain has resulted in massive, disastrous landslides that claimed both properties and lives, especially in the mining-ravaged areas  of Itogon and Mankayan in Benguet province.

As of 7 PM tonight, the region’s death toll has mounted to 191, with 121 dead in Benguet, 54 in Baguio City with 5 still missing, and 23 in Mountain Province with 32 still missing. Cordillera Peoples Alliance’s chapters and affiliates in Ifugao, Abra, Kalinga  and Apayao are still gathering concrete data, but have generally given feedback of massive agricultural damage in the towns of Conner, Apayao and Tabuk, Kalinga. Major roads, such as  Kennon, Marcos and Halsema highways have been closed, threatening Baguio City of isolation, while Conner is now totally  isolated. A total of 18 landslides were documented (11 in Baguio, 6 in Benguet one in Mountain Province).

Baguio City

Landslides and floods have engulfed and drowned lives and  properties in City Camp Lagoon, Pinsao, Fairview, Cresencia Village, Crystal Cave, Lucnab, QM, Kitma, Lower Cypress, Irisan,  Bakakeng Central, Queen of Peace, Apugan and Kias, all in Baguio City. Over 50 houses were damaged. There is still an unaccounted number of houses and business establishments  damaged in the central business district. Small rivers and creeks also overflowed, adding to the flooding of roads, which only
became passable today, October 9.

As of October 9, 9 PM, 80 individuals were evacuated into the  Baguio Central School, 24 families at the St. Vincent Gym, 38 families or 184 individuals at the City Camp Youth Center, (City Camp Proper), 91 families at the City Camp Youth Center (City Camp Central), 173 individuals at Aguinaldo Elementary School and around 100 families at the Daycare Center  and Barangay Hall of Queen of Peace.


Benguet, which has hosted large mines for over a century, always suffered from massive environmental  disasters during the rainy season, and especially during typhoons, which causes deaths, aside from  destruction, loss of properties and livelihood. This is  evident in the massive landslides in Beda, Loakan, Itogon in October 2008 due to the abandoned tunnels of Benguet  Corporation, the Colalo landslide in 1999 in Mankayan due to Lepanto Consolidated’s mining operations, which again happened in June 2009. The death toll now in Mankayan due  to landslides has risen to 23 including a 9-months pregnant  mother, an additional 5 in Acupan, Itogon. Two were reported dead in Buguias municipality due to landslides,  which is adjacent to the Lepanto operations in Mankayan.  UK-mining company Bezant and local subsidiary are have  actually conducted exploration in Guinaoang, Mankayan. La  Trinidad valley, the provincial center, registered 57 dead as  of today in the communities of Beckel and Kibungan  Village, Puguis. Vegetable gardens were reported washed out in Labilab, Bakun municipality.

Mountain Province

In Mountain Province, the provincial CPA chapter reported  this morning at 6 AM that a massive landslide in Kayan East, Tadian municipality totally buried 23 houses, leaving 5  dead, 5 injured and 32 missing. In the retrieval, four residents were rescued, while the bodies of 5 residents were  recovered. In another barangay of the same municipality, in  Bunga, 5 residents were rescued from a landslide; three are still missing.

Some 130 families were reported affected in Sadanga  municipality, while some 50 % agricultural damage was incurred, equivalent to 6-7 months of supposed food supply  in Sadanga. Two-month old ricefields were also destroyed in Natonin, leaving the communities without surplus from this  season’s cropping. This situation poses serious threat to the municipalities’ food security. CPA-Mountain Province has coordinated with the rescue team in Tadian and is still helping out with the retrieval until now.

There is a full range of the damages wrought by  Pepeng. Many of CPA’s and its network of  organizations’ staff, organizers and member organizations are affected. Some were already  rescued from their homes in Baguio. Aside from the  lives lost and properties damaged, infrastructure, agriculture and transportation is also affected.  Telecommunication difficulties is one more reason why communication to provinces and interior  communities is very difficult at present.

Top: Massive slide in Itogon; men in  Tublay carrying the injured and the dead;  children traverse landslide in also in Tublay.

A Brief Analysis of the Situation

This situation and the series of the massive environmental disasters in the Cordillera and the rest of the country must be elevated to an understanding of the impacts of climate change and beyond the bounds of  environmental issues and disaster response. It must be understood that there is disproportionate  vulnerability of the majority and certain populations to the adverse impacts of climate change, of which  indigenous peoples are very much included. Also, the climate crisis is best understood by acknowledging  its systemic root causes and the accountability of the world capitalist system driven by the few global elite  and imperialist countries and the globally dominated capitalist production and exploitation of the world’s  environment and resources, including the responsibility of government and top bureaucrats who passed  laws that worsened climate change and environmental disasters.

These are massively responsible and accountable for the imposition of neo-liberal policies in  underdeveloped countries. Imperialist and advance capitalist countries have imposed neo-liberal policies in advancing their imperialist agenda and plunder especially in underdeveloped countries, leading to the  destruction of the world’s resources for their profit and greed. This greed for profit is responsible for the  operation of large-scale extractive and destructive industries, such as corporate mining and large dams  which is very evident in the Philippines. Our experience not only in the Cordillera but in Marinduque  and Albay has proven that extractive industries, with corporate mining in particular, only leads to irreparable environmental disasters. For indigenous peoples, it is twice the blow with the violation of their  collective rights to ancestral land, resources and right to self determination.

We raise again the issue of the San Roque Dam, whose 7 floodgates were opened and flooded almost 80% of Pangasinan, especially the towns of San Manuel, San Nicolas and towards Lingayen Gulf and even  Tarlac province with a 5, 300 cubic meters per second flood gate which is already so close to the probable  maximum flood rate of 12,800 cubic meters per second The SRD never meant to serve anything but government’s profit-making. It could never control floods, contrary to government’s claim that it could,  when there are already 11 tailings dams and 2 silted hydro dams upstream. During its operational lifespan  of 50 years, the SRD can be expected to collect a total of 269 million cubic meters of sediment from upstream sources—the abandoned open pit mines, mineral tailings ponds, muck waste dumps, and  denuded mountain slopes of the southern Benguet mining district, as well as existing reservoirs at Ambuclao and Binga. Steady silt buil-up at San Roque will induce upstream flooding along the Agno  river and its tributaries. Downstream, the flooding of at least 1,250 square kilometers of land will occur  every time torrential rains force the opening of the dam’s gates.1 CPA and the people’s opposition raised  the SRD issue to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo when she assumed power but she never took it seriously as  she prioritized the interest of the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC). If only the people’s  opposition was heeded, the present situation may not have happened. Now, we expect more cases not  merely of flooding but deaths and loss of properties. The SRPC, JBIC, the Ramos and Arroyo regimes  must be held accountable for the damages and deaths and the SRD must be de-commissioned now if we  want to save more lives, livelihood sources and properties.

The damages of climate change, of environmental disasters and the ruling elite’s greed for profit and  wealth accumulation is made the burden of the poor majority and populations highly vulnerable to its  impacts.

1 Damming our Future: Final Report of the Fact Finding Mission to Areas Affected by the San Roque Dam Project in  Pangasinan, October 2000

Serve the People Brigade

The above situation necessitates urgent disaster response, such that CPA and the Center for Development  Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC) organized a disaster response body composed of its network of organizations, which is the Serve the People Brigade-Cordillera Disaster Response Network. The name  is historic, as it is derived from the disaster response initiatives of Cordillera activists during the 1972  floods and the killer quake in July 1990. This response is also rooted in the indigenous tradition of cooperation and collective action in times of disaster or in emergency situations.

The Serve the People Brigade, to sustain its rescue and relief missions, is now coordinating with other institutions, organizations and individuals in the region for rescue and relief operations in the most depressed areas in the region.


The Brigade humbly and urgently appeals for all forms of support for its relief and rescue operations not  only for the victims of Pepeng, but in the coming emergency situations expected due to the impacts of  climate change and the prevailing political situation.

For the relief operations:

.. Food supplies (rice, canned goods,biscuits, munggo, sugar, salt, cooking oil, boiled eggs)
.. Drinking water, .. Gas for generators
.. Clothing .. Blankets
.. Sleeping mats .. New underwear
.. Toiletries (soap) .. Cooking pot
.. Flashlights .. Batteries
.. Tents

.. For medicine: paracetamol, pain relievers, anti worm (mebendazole), antacid, amoxicillin,
cotrimoxazole, bandages, hydrogen peroxide and betadine

For the rescue operations:

.. Rubber boots .. Shovels
.. Raincoats .. Food for work
.. Mountaineering rope .. Batteries
.. Flashlights .. Body bags
.. Lime

For Financial, Material Donations and to Volunteer:

Please visit us at No. 55 Ferguson Road, Brgy. A. Bonifacio, Baguio City and look for Mr. Santos
Mero, Serve the People Brigade Coordinator and CPA Deputy Secretary General (09152054262).

You may also call or text the Hotline at mobile number 09209286370 or Telephone Number 63- 074304- 4239, Fax number is 63-074-443-7159. You can also reach us through email at  for queries.

Financial donations may also be channeled through:

Cordillera Peoples Alliance
Savings Account: 1-326-72354-8
RCBC Baguio Peso Account

You may also lend your vehicles for the relief and rescue missions, and we welcome the assistance and  support of paramedics, doctors, and all volunteers who would like to be part of the relief and rescue drive.

We thank you sincerely and look forward to your positive response on this urgent appeal.

Cordillera Peoples Alliance
Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera

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No. 55 Ferguson Road, Baguio City Hotlines:Tel No. 063-074-304-4239,
Mobile Numbers 09209286370, 09189199007.

October 14, 2009


This is the fourth alert issued by the Serve the People Brigade Cordillera Disaster Response Network since October 9. While many areas have been serviced, a greater number still needs our help as
some towns and communities are now confronted with hunger. Thus, we continue to appeal for urgent support for the communities and provinces below, as we also share the efforts the Brigade undertook in the past five days.

BAGUIO CITY –The devastation typhoon Pepeng caused Northern Luzon is distressing. But the overflowing generosity and volunteerism of our kakailian is inspiring. Truly, the Filipino bayanihan
spirit is alive. This growing and widening support enabled the Serve the People Brigade Cordillera Disaster Response Network to provide relief ,and medical missions in affected communities of
Baguio City (Pinsao, Fairview, City Camp, Bakakeng Central, Cresencia Village) and some parts of Benguet, such as Itogon, La Trinidad and Tublay. CPA Mountain Province meanwhile helped in the retrieval operations in Kayan East, Tadian municipality, which ended today.

An estimated P 949,744,50 worth of food supplies, clothing and medicines was raised and a total of P165, 876. 75 cash donations were collected since October 10. Volunteers consisted mostly of high school and college students swarmed the relief operation center at #55 Ferguson Rd, Baguio City.

Baguio City

The Serve the People Brigade distributed bags of food supplies, drinking water and clothing to over 500 affected families in Baguio City, Tublay and Itogon municipalities in Benguet. In Baguio, the Brigade’s monitoring and documentation teams reported around 104 families or 881
individuals evacuated from the communities of Cresencia Village, Bakakeng Central, City Camp (Lower Quarry and Lower QM) and Irisan (Purok 1). The community of Lower QM still needs medicine (anti-pyretic, anti-diarrhea), Cresencia Village is in need of clothing, food supplies and Purok 1 in Irisan needs food for work; In the above communities, 13 were reported dead (Bakakeng Central, Purok 1 and Balembeng in Irisan), and 21 injured (Purok 1, Balembeng and Cypress all in Irisan; Bakakeng and Cresencia Village).


Provincial Updates

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance chapters and affiliates in Benguet, Abra and Mountain Province have reported the following:


15 individuals dead, 2 missing and 9 families displaced in the mined out area of Sto. Nino, and parts of Sayatan and Baayan, Tublay, while 45 households or roughly 270 individuals affected in Sitio Sapuan in the same municipality. Forty five families have been evacuated into Pontino Elementary School, where it was noted that families therein need food supplies and water, new underwear, cooking utensils, toothbrushes. Road conditions leave Tublay still isolated at the moment, and needs food supplies. Mankayan is in urgent need of food supplies especially rice, as local residents are now suffering from hunger. The mining town is totally isolated and only a limited number of cavans of rice were brought in from Cervantes, Ilocos Sur. In the same municipality, 27 bodies were retrieved in the boundary of Abatan, Buguias and Guinaoang, Mankayan, 4 workers were reported dead at Nayak
and Taneg. 17 families from the sinking area of Poblacion were evacuated into safer grounds. In Pukitan, cracks were observed from the airstrip down to where several homes are built, posing further threat and danger. Kilometers 18-19 is still impassable, and Kms. 26 to 36 can only be reached by 3 hours’ hike.


In the southern mining town of Itogon, 57 families in Luneta were evacuated into the Alejo Pacalso National Highschool evacuation center while 5 were reported dead and 1 is missing, 14 houses
were totally damaged in Dalicno and another 20 are at the brink of collapse; Dalupirip is isolated and faces food insecurity, 6 died in Ucab while 1 is missing in Gumatdang. In these areas today, the Brigade conducted relief operations and provided food for work with University of the Philippines Baguio academe and the Social Action Center of Baguio and Benguet.

An undetermined number of injured people was recorded in Pasdong, Atok due to landslides. Fortunately, no one died. Two persons died in Dada and Lameo in Bakun, and most of the vegetable gardens which is their main source of livelihood, has been flooded. In Bokod, a huge landslide has blocked the Benguet-Viscaya Road, disabling the entry of food supplies. Two houses were totally damaged in Ambuklao, 6 houses and a clinic totally washed out in Labey, while 5 houses were affected in Minac.

Kabayan is also totally isolated and residents are confronted by hunger.

Meantime, relief and rescue missions continue to pour in La Trinidad.



Mountain Province

Today, the last body was retrieved in Kayan East, Tadian, totaling 35 since the first day of retrieval. Rituals and burial will immediately follow. 18 families or 108 families have nothing to return to as their homes were totally covered by the landslide. They are now confronted with starting all over again, starting from their basic needs.

Rice is very needed in Tadian. Lizardo Trans has meantime gone for test run today in Bontoc, Sagada and towards Ifugao to check road conditions.


CPA KASTAN reported last night that 3 are reported missing in the towns of Lagangilang, Luba and Sallapadan.  In Lacub, some P1.4 million worth of crops were damaged with 100 families affected; 7.1 million worth of crops damaged in Malibcong with 423 families affected ; P7.5 million worth of crops damaged in Baay Licuan with 583 families affected; P32.1 million worth of crops damaged in Sallapadan with 265 families affected, and P1.5 million worth of crops were damaged in Tubo with 200 families affected.

Further Appeal for Support In this regard, the Serve the People Brigade continuous to ask for your
continuing support. Please refer to our URGENT APPEAL posted at and

The floods are receding, the landslides are clearing out, and the roads are opening but there is still much to be done. We hope that other individuals and organizations can channel their relief operations in some of the areas mentioned above. Let us help each other rise above the ruins. # With reports from CHESTCORE, KASTAN CPA Abra, CPA Mountain Province, MAQUITACDG

Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera
Cordillera Peoples Alliance





Dear Friends,

Please find attached the Cordillera Peoples Alliance's (CPA) appeal for support to the victims of Typhoon Pepeng in the Cordillera, Philippines. Typhoon Pepeng has severely devastated the Cordillera and nearby regions in the past week, with massive and disastrous landslides as well as floods and a death toll in the Cordillera of more than 200.

The CPA and Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC) networks have formed the Serve the People Brigade-Cordillera Disaster Response Network in an effort to provide immediate relief to the typhoon victims. The Brigade's relief operations are ongoing. This is apart from earlier rescue and relief operations by member organizations of the said networks.

We'll be sending you updates on developments and our relief operations soon which will also be available at Kindly circulate the Appeal as wide as possible.

Thank you and we look forward to your positive response on this urgent appeal.

Sarah Dekdeken


No. 55 Ferguson Road
2600 Baguio City
Tel. 6374 3044239
Fax 6374 4437159


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