A month after collision, some have moved on-A A +A
Monday, September 16, 2013
IT’S been exactly a month since mv St. Thomas Aquinas collided with mv Sulpicio Express Siete. Some families have already found closure, but others continue to struggle with grief.
Fishermen in Mandaue City, meanwhile, have gone back to fishing following the oil spill resulting from the collision, but still few people buy their fish.
For those who were victims of or were affected as a result of the collision, only time will tell when their lives will return to normal.
Vilma Maligro of Bayugan, Agusan Del Sur has laid to rest her husband and son who got separated from her during the commotion as the Aquinas was sinking.
“I’m happy my sister found closure,” Maligro’s brother Teodifico Alfuente said.
Maligro received P120,000 cash assistance from 2Go Shipping for the death of her husband Hilario and Christian Mark, 8.
The maritime accident that occurred at Lauis Ledge off Talisay City last Aug. 16 took 116 lives; 70 have been identified while 20 remain missing.
The remaining unidentified bodies now at Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes in Cebu City will be buried in a mass burial in Barangay Carreta on Sept. 25.
Teodifico’s mother Agatona Lafuente, 78, is one of the missing passengers.
“I am convinced she is just at the funeral parlor and that we just couldn’t recognize her anymore,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.
Though his family is just waiting for search and retrieval operations to be terminated, Teodifico said they are finding comfort at the fact that Maligro’s family were found. They came from Butuan City and were heading to Bohol.
For the family of Carl Yunice Neverba, who was one year and seven months old, their grief will take some time.
Her aunt Mercy Dagcuta, 32, said they are now only waiting for the results of the cross-matching of DNA samples.
“If the results match, it is only then that we could find peace,” she said.
Neverba got separated from her mother and brother during the collision.
Dagcuta said Neverba’s life jacket that was placed around her was taken by another passenger, who reportedly thought there was no one inside.
Dagcuta said her cousin Alfenjane, 23, held on to her son’s life jacket but had to give it up because the mother was also dragged underwater.
“They could’ve died, too,” Dagcuta said as Alfenjane was also holding her other son, Cris Johann, 3.
The family came from Surigao Del Sur and were on their way to Manila.
Dagcuta said they don’t blame anyone because what happened was an accident that no one wanted to happen.
As for the fishermen in Mandaue City, Ricky Bulacan, president of the Labogon Fishermen’s Association and the Mandaue City Federation of Fishermen, appealed to City Hall and the Cebu Provincial Government to provide them with alternative livelihood.
About 60 fishermen stopped fishing for several days after many consumers stopped eating fish for fear that fish sold in the markets were contaminated with oil spill or have eaten human flesh from the shipwreck off the coast of Talisay City.
Bulacan said yesterday that fishermen now only earn P200 to P250 in a day, or half of what they usually earned before the Aug. 16 tragedy. They end up making most of their catch into dried fish.
“Before, all our fish got sold the moment we reached the shore,” he said.
Musoline Suliva, administrator of the Mandaue City Public Market, said sales at the fish section are slowly returning to normal.
More than half of the vendors temporarily closed their stalls at the height of the public scare.
He reassured the public that the fish sold in the market come from other provinces and are safe.
He said the City still awaits the go-signal from the Department of Labor and Employment to identify the fishermen and vendors who can avail themselves of the agency’s emergency employment program.
Last Sept. 11, the City Council passed an ordinance allowing 180 fish vendors not to pay their daily rent for a month.
Councilor Jimmy Lumapas, chair of the committee on market and abattoir, proposed the moratorium to help fish vendors cope with the oil spill. Vendors at the fish section pay a daily stall rental of P35.
During the first week of the oil spill, the fishermen in Barangay Labogon received rice, noodles and canned goods from the office of Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 16, 2013.