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Most Marikina roads now passable

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Most streets in Marikina City have been cleared of mud and debris from last month's onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses and are now passable, Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said in a report by Philippine News Agency.

The debris, left by massive flooding, was equivalent to one-and-a-half years worth of the city’s garbage, Marcelino said.

“That’s 980,000 cubic meters of debris. We have already cleared the major roads but we are clearing now the secondary and interior alleys in the communities,” he said in a statement.

Teodoro said the clearing of inner streets and alleyways are being finished.

The city's residents have demonstrated resilience and “bayanihan” amid the challenge reminiscent of Typhoon Ondoy that inundated the city in 2009.

The house of Gina Buenavides, a resident of Provident Village, which is by the riverside, was severely damaged by the typhoon.

Houses in their community were submerged in floodwaters, covered in thick mud, and littered with the debris of their destroyed belongings.

“Mas mabilis tumaas 'yung tubig nung ‘Ulysses’ kaysa nung ‘Ondoy’. Nung ‘Ondoy’ kasi, nakaupo pa kami sa labas ng bahay habang tumaas paunti-unti 'yung tubig. Pero ito, hindi eh. Noong November 12, wala pang tubig nung 6 a.m., wala pang baha. Kaya sabi ko, ‘Hindi naman siguro magtutuloy.’ Pero wala pang isang oras, ang taas na (Floodwaters rose quicker during ‘Ulysses’ than during ‘Ondoy’. Back in 2009, we were seated outside and could see the water slowly rise. However, last November 12, there was no floodwater yet at about 6 a.m. So I said to myself, 'Maybe it wouldn't flood at all.' But I was wrong because in less than an hour, the floodwater was already deep)," Gina said.

Murky floodwaters coming from the nearby Marikina River reached the ceiling of the first floor of the Buenavides’ three-story home.

The family managed to salvage some of their belongings to the second floor but most of their valuables were swept away by the flood.

“After nung ‘Ulysses’, syempre pagbaba mo puro putik tapos lahat ng gamit mo kung saan-saan nakarating. ’Yung iba, naisalba pa namin, pero yung iba wala na talaga. Katulad nung mga plano sa aming construction business (After the floodwaters subsided, we went down and checked out our stuff and saw them scattered everywhere. We were able to save some but the rest were destroyed, including some plans for our construction business),” she said.

Gina recounted that it took them more than a week to completely remove the mud from their house, yet more need to be done to completely clean up their first floor and their yard.

They still have to rearrange the things they have recovered, she said.

Despite being one of those affected by the tragedy, the Buenavides family, in their own simple way, helped Marikina get back on its feet by having the initiative to clean their front yard and pile the debris they have collected to make it easy for local government personnel to get it.

“Syempre lilinisin mo na rin ‘yung harapan ng bahay mo dahil ikaw din naman ang maapektuhan. Hindi din naman nila magagawa agad ‘yun, eh. Sa dami nga namin, hindi nila masasabay-sabay (Of course, you have to clean up outside your house because otherwise, it's you who gets affected. The local government cannot do it quickly because many other residents have also been affected),” she said.

Gina acknowledged the efforts of the city government in helping residents quickly recover from the effects of the typhoon.

Despite experiencing two devastating storms, she said they have no plan to leave their homes.

Marikina is their home, Gina said, the place where their family has thrived and made memories with friends and loved ones.

“Kahit na ito ‘yung nangyari, na binaha at nasira ang mga gamit namin, wala kaming planong lumipat. Mahal namin ang Marikina, ito ang tahanan namin at nandito ang mga kaibigan at mahal namin sa buhay (Despite what happened, us experiencing floods and our valuables destroyed, we have no plan to move out. We love Marikina. This is our home and our friends and family are here),” she said.

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