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Friday , June 22, 2018

A face, a story: Putting a face on blast statistics

IN TRAGEDIES, like the Davao night market bombing evening of September 2, 2016, we are faced with numbers - casualties, dead, wounded - and names that are most devastating when we recognize, sad when we don't, but just those names.

This was the same feeling SunStar Davao columnist Daf Padilla had when she saw those names that were shared and re-shared over social networks.

Thus, she started the posts of a picture and a short story about the person. To date, she has made 13 of the 14, as she is still looking for some connection with the fatality identified as Mercy Basilisco. Of the 13, she does not have photos of two - Eufemia Biscocho and Maria Luz Arellano, who were both working as masseurs along Roxas Avenue on that fateful night.

"I lost a good student to the airport bombing, Ste, and every single time may namamatay sa bombing bumabalik yun. Guernica yun sa utak ko," she said, referring to Pablo Picasso's piece named after the city, showing an abstraction of a city bombed by Nazi planes during the Spanish Civil War. Depicting the horrors of war, the masterpiece Guernica has become an anti-war symbol.

"Tapos naging numero lang yung matalino, mabait at masipag na bata, si Kenneth Rasay ng Panabo. So ayoko na ng numero sa mga ganito... dapat may mukha sila," Padilla added.




She referred to what CNN's Anderson Cooper did after the Orlando massacre.

Padilla recalled that erstwhile Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte also did the rounds of those who died during the Davao International Airport bombing in 2003.

"Pinuntahan talaga nya pamilya sa Panabo. Nakiramay... nagdasal," she added.

Soon after visiting the blast site at past midnight of September 3, 2016 and meeting with law enforcement officials and the press by dawn, now President Duterte proceeded to the hospitals where the wounded and the dead were brought.

The president talked to each and every relative who was watching over their patient and condoled with the families of those who died.

Padilla said Facebook was her main tool in tracking down the dead and getting information about how they lived.

"I started reading the list looking for kakilala then stalked Facebook kung sino sila. I started with Kristelle... then Christian," she said. I even found out the Chrstian Denver -- Denden to friends -- is the younger brother of the favorite dialysis nurse of my mama."

From there, as the posts were commented on and shared, friends and relatives of the others send in more information. Relatives and friends of the victims, too, were sending her photos.

The posts now are going the rounds, some shared, others reposted. Little by little, account per account, people are beginning to know and feel for the families of those who perished.

"Naa pa nag pm nga dili nako friends na i-public nako akong profile para makabasa sila ....juskems! Strangers pud nagpa thank you," she added.
For those who cannot view the posts, here excerpts of the texts of each that all end with a call to pray for the dead and their families:

1. He is SPO1 Jay Adremesin. Other reports identified him as Jay Abresin. He was one of the police officers assigned at the Davao Airport. He was at Roxas for a quick massage. He grew up at Norala, South Cotabato but lives in Cabantian. One friend called him as a 'happy' person.

2. He is Salvador Reginaldo Nagal. Other reports identified him as Salvador Reginaldo Nakali. He was at Roxas Avenue with his girlfriend, Krishna Sarong. Krishna was also earlier identified as Tricia Sarong.
Remember him in your praters and pray for the well-being of his family and his girlfriend, Krishna who is still in critical condition at SPMC.

3. She is Eufemia Biscocho. She is 57 years old and lived at Brgy. 31-D Boulevard. Aside from giving relaxing massages she would also read people's palms.

4. Kristelle Decolongon, 2nd year Pharmacy student of San Pedro College, from Surallah, South Cotabato. Her last FB page post was about missing her family.

5. She is Evelyn Sobrecarey. She is 49 years old and married to a police officer - Police Inspector Omelito Sobrecarey. She has three kids and about to graduate from the PT certificate course she took at Davao Doctor's Hospital. She was at the night market as a trainee. She grew up in Koronadal, South Cotabato but lived in Puan.

6. She is Melanie Faith Larida. She is a teacher at the Alliance Church of Toril and wife of a pastor. She was with their only son, Deniel Josh and her husband, Dennis when the IED exploded at Roxas Avenue. Her son died too. Ruth grew up in Pagadian.

Remember her in your prayers and pray for the well-being of her family especially her husband, who is still in critical condition, whom she left behind.

7. He is Chrisitan Denver Reyes, a 36 years old father who lives in Puan. He is seen here with his wife, Joanna, who was also wounded in the blast.
Christian and Joanna run two stalls at Agdao Public Market. They have three young children and also take care of Christian's retired parents. The couple was at Roxas Avenue for a quick massage.

8. He is Deniel Josh Larida. He is just 12 years old and has been described as an energetic pupil and Kawan scout of Amigo School of Calinan. He went to Roxas with his mother, Melanie Faith, and father, Dennis.

9. She is Ruth Merecido. A former OFW, she works at Roxas Avenue as a masahista. She is a single mother and was waiting for another opportunity to work abroad. Friends say she is one of the most industrious therapists of Roxas.

Ruth grew up in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.

10. He is Pipalawan Cacua. He recently earned his Doctorate degree from Cotabato City State Polytechnic College. He was the PAMANA Focal person on scholarships for MNLF communities and worked with CHED-ARMM. He was described as a kind and good neighbor.

He is from Parang, Maguindanao.

11. She is Kristia Gaile Bisnon. She is private duty nurse at Davao Doctors Hospital and loves taekwondo. She has been described as respectful, diligent, and kind. She always reminded other nurses to eat well. One of her friends said, Kristia would never leave a friend in need. Her mother is Arlene Bisnon, Provincial Director of DOLE Sultan Kudarat.

She grew up and studied in Tacurong City, North Cotabato.

12. She is Maria Luz Arellano, 29, masahista, and a mother of three very young children -- 6 years old, 2 years old, and 1 year old. She lives at Cabantian, Buhangin District, Davao City.

Her husband Edmund Arellano, has expressed wanting to join the military to seek justice for his wife.

13. He is Rogelio Cagantas Jr. Most nights, especially on a Friday, he is at Roxas Avenue where he works as a masahista. Friday and Saturday are usually the busy days for masahistas like him. Rogelio earns an average of Php300 a night.

Rogelio is from Tagbina, Surigao del Sur.


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