The city government under Emano, in power for the last 13 years, has much to answer for.
It will have to account for the death of more than 1,000 people, the disappearance of more than 1,000 others who may have been washed out to sea, perhaps never to be found by their grieving families, and the displacement of more than 10,000 families.
And it will have to answer for the dumping of the unclaimed bodies in the city’s garbage dump—an unconscionable act that is the height of insensitivity.
No one in Cagayan de Oro is without friends and family who perished. My family was spared, but I will now live with the memory of so many friends who did not survive the devastation.
I will remember the Yrastorza family—Joaquin, Maria Sagrario (Mercader), and their daughter Tish, who died embracing one another. I will remember my cousin Joann Dingcong, who never made it to the rooftop of her own house in Emily Homes. But where could she have gone? All the rooftops in that subdivision were underwater in seconds.
I will remember Nieves Pacana Arcadio, the daughter of a former Cagayan de Oro mayor. She never made it because she could not fit in an overhead window that her niece Jana had broken as their escape hatch after the floodwaters reached for their ceiling.
I will remember little Mica Samson. Her mother’s body has been found but Mica remains missing. Her grandmother, who loved her so much and took her to school each day, will forever be in grief.
And so will countless nameless others.