The Batak Community Center (left) in shambles after the typhoon. (Right), IPs take refuge in the huts despite the damage.

The Batak community of Barangay Concepcion, north of Puerto Princesa, is appealing for help after losing all of their homes in the aftermath of Typhoon “Odette” due to severe winds and flash floods.

They require food, water, and blankets to ward off the elements while they wait in their evacuation center to return home, community elder Rica Gupo told Palawan News.

Gupo said they sought refuge in the Batak Community Center last week during the height of Typhoon Odette, but the facility incurred damage as well.

A contributed video shows floodwaters at the height of Typhoon Odette’s onslaught in Tagnaya village, where the Batak community lives.

“Wala na talagang natira. Nagsiksikan na lang kami sa community center,” she said in a phone call.

Gupo said that as of press time, approximately 30 Bataks and some Tagbanua remained at the community center. Barangay officials are supporting them with relief efforts, but the help is insufficient because they are not the only ones affected in Concepcion.

The barangay is currently discussing how and when to restore their homes. However, she reiterated that the community needs blankets, woven mats, and food.

Grace Marinay, who presides over the Tagnaya Elementary School, where the Batak children are learning, also told Palawan News that the community has become a river.

The school has also been devastated, with floodwaters washing away printers and paper modules.

NCIP Palawan advises IPMRs to identify affected IPs
Meanwhile, Atty. Jansen Jontila, provincial officer of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), said that all indigenous peoples mandatory representatives (IPMRs) should conduct a headcount of their impacted constituents.

“Sa mga IPMRs, paki-forward na lang ang mga pangalan sa regional office para mabigyan ng tulong ang lahat ng IPs na naapektuhan,” he said.

IPMRs can also call him personally for assistance, Jontila said.