Families mourn Pinatubo flood deaths

Posted at 08/09/2009 7:01 PM | Updated as of 08/09/2009 7:05 PM

TARLAC – Grief surrounded the house of Fernando Ordono as family wept over his body.

Ordono, a tourist guide, was killed after being swept away by raging mud and floodwaters while helping a team of foreign tourists descend from Mount Pinatubo.

“Sabi ko kasi huwag na siyang tumuloy at maulan,” said Victoria Montana.

Another local, Freddiric Reyla, also lost his life trying to save Ordono and the tourists. Three foreigners, 2 French and a Belgian, were killed in the incident.

Because of this, tourist activity on Mt. Pinatubo was suspended to allow officials to review safety measures for climbers.

Aside from the families of Reyla and Ordono, at least 250 families from Barangay Sta. Lucia are in grief after flashfloods swept their homes.

“Sobrang bilis ng paglaki ng tubig kaya lumikas kami agad,” said resident Wilson Dimarucot.

Five barangays in Capas, Tarlac are now under a state of calamity. These are: Barangays Sta. Lucia, Sta. Juliana, O'Donnel, Maruglo and Bueno.

Town officials have been distributing relief goods to affected families.

Capas Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan said, “Maglalabas ng pondo ang barangay para matulungan sila.”

Meanwhile, clearing operations along the Maharlika Highway in Carangalan town in Nueva Ecija has almost been completed after landslides stranded thousands of travelers for days.

Carangalan Mayor Luvimindo Otic said they will continue to monitor the road for more landslides as rains continue to fall.  By Cris Zuñiga, ABS-CBN News Dagupan