Philippines: Urgent appeal for the affected families of Mindanao Earthquakes

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]


In October 2019, 3 succeeding strong earthquakes hit the province of Cotabato in Mindanao, Philippines. The first was the magnitude 6.3 on October 16, the second with magnitude 6.6 on October 29, and two days thereafter on October 31, with magnitude 6.5. These successive tremors, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) are a result of inter-related faults in the region.

These destructive earthquakes massively affected the two regions in Mindanao, the Region XI (Davao Region) and Region XII (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City). It affected more than 200,000 population [1] and destroyed and damaged several houses, health facilities, public infrastructures, schools, roads and bridges and places of worships.

These earthquakes also resulted to landslides in several areas which displaced thousands of families from their lands and main source of living. Others are projected for six months long of displacement while others faced possible forced relocation. The landslide also damaged the potable water system especially in severely affected areas of the municipalities of Tulunan, Makilala, M’lang and the city of Kidapawan which made safe drinking water scarce.

There are evacuation sites that lack sanitation facilities which prompted some of the affected families to stay outside the site and close to their damaged houses or neighbours where toilets are readily accessible. These affected families who stay outside of the evacuation centers are less likely included in the relief distribution. There were reports from the ground that looting and rummaging of relief-carrying trucks by the evacuees are already happening.

The most vulnerable to this kind of event are women, children, persons with special needs and the elderly especially if they are part of the indigenous communities affected.

 Data Gathered

On 4 November 2019, a data gathering team of Multi-stakeholders Initiative for Humanitarian Assistance against Disasters (MiHANDs) composite of various volunteers from its member organizations in South Central Mindanao cluster (from the sectors of youth, human rights advocates, returned OFWs, and migrant workers rights advocates) was deployed in some of the areas affected to have an ocular visit and needs assessment.

They went to some of the affected villages in the towns of Datu Paglas and Paglat of Maguindanao province and in New Ezperanza village of M’lang municipality in North Cotabato. Simultaneous to this is the collection of data passed by local partners and contacts in Bansalan municipality of Davao del Sur province as well as in Makilala municipality of North Cotabato province. As per assessment of the group, the following are the major points for consideration in extending intervention.

1) There are affected families in Maguindanao province that are not covered in the national news. In Paglat town, there are 149 families affected with 27 damaged houses and 18 destroyed houses. The villages of Damakling and Poblacion are mostly affected after dikes along Buluan-Paglat River have been damaged by the earthquake. This resulted to flooding and evacuation of families living along the river. Safe passage of the people, especially children, in the river banks has been affected. This made these villages susceptible to floods anytime the water raises. In Datu Paglas town, there are 3 villages with 469 families who are severely affected by the succeeding earthquakes with 97 destroyed houses. Affected families in Paglat received Php3,000 cash from the local government unit while those in Datu Paglas received 1 sack of rice and Php3,000 cash from their local government units (rice is from the municipality while cash is from the barangay). As of this writing, Datu Paglas is considered for relief distribution of the BARMM in the next few days.

2) In New Ezperanza village of M’lang, North Cotabato, Manuvo and Bagobo indigenous tribes are also affected. There are 41 affected families who are currently staying in an evacuation center. There houses are destroyed and they are part of those affected of the landslide with areas declared as ‘no go zone’.

3) In Makilala town, 3,130 affected families of indigenous peoples.

4) In Bansalan town of Davao del Sur, Barangays Altavista, Alegre and Eman are severely affected with 500 families who are mostly members of Tagabawa indigenous tribe.

5) Possible constraint to relief operations is the currently established security protocol of the Department of National Defense in lieu of the on-going Martial Law declaration in the entire areas of Mindanao. There might be some areas and affected population excluded from relief operations because they are situated in the hotspot area of the New People’s Army (NPA – the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines). Most affected to this scenario are the indigenous peoples living in the hinterland displaced by the landslides.

6) Common and Urgent Needs: food packs, drinking water, tents, sleeping materials, portable toilets (for Bansalan), sanitary pads, clothing including underwear especially for women, medicines, PSS intervention.

 Our Urgent Appeal and Target Intervention

In response to this situation, we urgently appeal for the following:

- Humanitarian assistance to 4,289 affected Bangsamoro and indigenous people’s families. Food and non-food items listed above are urgently needed. The network can pull out its volunteers for psychosocial intervention and acu-detoxification session.

- For the political parties and leaders not to politicize the situation – providing relief goods to areas/communities/population regardless of political leanings and not to use the situation for the 2022 political agenda.

- For your cash and in-kind donations, you may directly contact the coordination team of MiHANDS South Central Mindanao with the following details below:

Goldy A. Omelio
Kaagapay OFW
Ante Compound, Rosary Heights 4, Cotabato City
Mobile: +639176328785
Email: kaagapaycotabato98

Edna A. Pangilamen
TRIPOD Foundation
Tulingan St., Bagua 2, Cotabato City
Mobile: +639973095659
Email: ednapangilamen

MIHANDS Bank Account Details:

Account Name : Mindanao Humanitarian Action Network
Account No. : 9353-1085-54
Bank name : Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI)
Bank Address : Quezon Avenue, Iligan City

 ESSF and international donations

If it is easier or less costly for you, ESSF may be used to transfer donations to Mihands.

cheques to ESSF in euros only, payable in France, to be sent to:
2, rue Richard-Lenoir
93100 Montreuil

Bank Account:
Crédit lyonnais
Agence de la Croix-de-Chavaux (00525)
10 boulevard Chanzy
93100 Montreuil
ESSF, account number 445757C

International bank account details :
IBAN : FR85 3000 2005 2500 0044 5757 C12
Account holder : ESSF

Through PayPal
You can send money through Paypal: see the PayPal button on ESSF English home page:

Through HelloAsso
You can also send money through the association HelloAsso: see its button on the upper right side of ESSF English home page:
Or go directly to:

We keep you regularly informed via our website of the situation and use of the solidarity fund.


[1As of 5 November2019 Consolidated Assessment Report of Mindanao Humanitarian Team