More help needed-A A +A
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
EFFORTS are underway to help relatives of those who died when two vessels collided off Cebu’s coast, as well as the families of local fishermen who are reeling from an oil spill.
A total of 2,728 families in Cordova who have suffered from the oil spill after the collision received 8,184 food packs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
A representative of 2Go also told Gov. Hilario Davide III that the company will give each affected family in Cordova P200 daily.
The company has released P60,000 as assistance to the families of those who were confirmed to have died in the accident. This aid is not the full amount yet, as the insurance claim is still being processed, said someone from 2Go who declined to be identified in this report.
The recipients were asked to sign a receipt, but the 2Go representative said these should not be misconstrued as quit claims.
The search continues for 51 persons, 11 days after the St. Thomas Aquinas and the Sulpicio Express Siete collided off the coast of Talisay City. The Aquinas, which sank, belonged to 2Go, while the Sulpicio Express Siete is operated by the Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp. (formerly Sulpicio Lines).
At least 20 fishers’ families in each of the seven barangays severely hit by the oil spill in Cordova will get aid from 2Go. They will receive P150 in food items plus P50 cash per day, said the Capitol’s Public Information Officer Ethel Natera.
No date was given as to when the distribution will start.
Philippine Span Asia Carrier, for its part, also gave 200 sacks of rice to the victims, through the Provincial Government, said Natera.
The Coast Guard is investigating what caused the collision last Aug. 16 between 2Go’s passenger ferry and the Sulpicio cargo vessel near the Lauis Ledge.
The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) will start tomorrow, Aug. 28, a separate inquiry on the collision. Like the SBMI, it will hold its proceedings in Cebu.
Since the Aquinas sank, many families in Cordova who relied on fishing have been unable to do so.
“We immediately coordinated with Congressman (Gabriel Luisi) Quisumbing, the local government of Cordova and other concerned national government agencies to mitigate the impact of the disaster,” said DSWD 7 Director Mercedita Jabagat.
(Food for work)
Quisumbing is the congressman of Cebu’s sixth district, which includes Cordova.
DSWD 7 operations division chief Shalaine Marie Lucero also told Governor Davide they have proposed a food-for-work program to their head office in Manila, as one more way to help victims of the oil spill.
Governor Davide, who convened the Incident Management Team yesterday, learned from team members about the food being donated by the shipping companies and government agencies to communities in Cordova.
Davide asked the IMT representatives to coordinate the food and cash assistance with the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office.
Michael O’Brien, a consultant of the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF), suggested that the authorities move from “emergency phase” to “project phase”, which would require a more coordinated effort to deal with the oil spill and its effects.
What to givev
For her part, Director Jabagat of the DSWD called on private individuals and business owners to donate goods, like canned food, rice, bottled water and toiletries, for the affected fishermen’s families.
Donations may be delivered to the DSWD 7 regional office at the corner of M.J. Cuenco and General Maxilom Ave. in Cebu City. Donors may look for Jennifer Abastillas of the agency’s Disaster Risk Reduction Management unit.
Meanwhile, the 2Go staff referred all questions on the company’s assistance to Lito Salvio, its assistant vice president for shipping management.
But the latter also referred the matter to Ismael Algara, who failed to reply to a text message late yesterday afternoon.
The issue was not yet raised during the regular command conference at the Office of the Cebu City Mayor, where Salvio and Algara attended.
The company’s financial assistance is on top of the board and lodging, travel and burial expenses already shouldered by the 2Go.
The assistance was given so that the families will have funds for incidental expenses.
Once the insurance will come in, the families will reportedly receive P200,000. Some passengers may have also purchased third-party insurance, which would make them eligible for another P100,000.
Survivors were given P5,000 each.
The families of casualties and those still missing also received financial assistance from the Office of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
At least 42 families of people who have been declared missing received P3,000 each yesterday.
Last Saturday and Sunday, families of casualties of the St. Thomas Aquinas also received P3,000 each.
Philippine Coast Guard Cebu City Station Commander Weniel Azcuna reported that the technical divers have already swept 60 percent of the Aquinas.
The remaining 40 percent is hard to get to because of the debris.
“The directive is to continue with the retrieval operations and there is no timeframe as to until when we should continue,” said Azcuna.
Bad weather forced them to suspend the dive at 10 a.m. yesterday, but they intend to resume.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 27, 2013.