3,000 families affected by oil spill get help-A A +A
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
ALMOST 3,000 families affected by the oil spill will benefit from the cash-for-work program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD 7).
In a press statement, the agency announced that DSWD Sec. Corazon Soliman approved the P17-million budget for the program.
There were 13 coastal barangays identified as areas affected by the oil spill from the collision of two ships, the M/V St. Thomas Aquinas and the Sulpicio Express Siete last month.
The oil spill spread to nearby villages that fisherfolks were unable to fish and at least 328 hectares of mangroves were damaged.
Under the cash-for-work program, 2,996 affected families in Cordova will be employed to clean oil spill-affected coastal areas and will be given P245 per day for ten days.
The beneficiaries will be involved in rehabilitation activities wherein one of its family members will help in cleaning up the shoreline of oil dregs as well as dredging of barangay canals and other greening activities.
In an earlier interview, Jennifer Abastillas, DSWD 7 disaster risk reduction and management focal person, said the budget for the program is enough for 10 days for families affected by the disaster.
Meanwhile, Ma. Elena Quinito, 39, would be the only identified casualty to be buried along with the 47 unidentified casualties this Wednesday.
They are the casualties of the ship collision last Aug. 16.
A total of 116 died from the ship collision and 21 are still missing.
While identified, Quinitio cannot be taken home to Agusan because the legal next-of-kin, her parents, are not willing to take her home.
But Bong Ebo of the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes said that Quinitio’s common-law husband was willing to take her home with him.
Unfortunately, the husband doesn’t have legal personality because they are not married.
Three weeks ago, Ebo shared that he first contacted Quinitio’s parents. Since then, he talked with them six more times, but remembered the mother telling him, “Ibigay mo nalang sa husband niya, ‘yan naman ang gusto nila (Just give it to the husband, that’s what they wanted).”
The Disaster Victim Identification Scene of the Crime Operations (DVI Soco) would not allow Quinitio to go home with the common-law husband.
“I got a certification from the barangay captain of the couple in Agusan as proof that they have been living together for years in the said barangay, but the DVI-Soco would not accept it as proof,” said Ebo.
What tugged Ebo’s heart was that the husband has been at the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes daily to visit his departed partner since the incident happened.
In fact, Quinitio was identified because of the secondary identification made by the husband. This means that Quinitio was identified because the male partner was able to identify her clothing and physical attributes in detail.
There was no need for a DNA matching.
Ebo said that based on his several phone conversation with Ebo’s parents, there was a verbal waiver to give the body to the common-law husband for proper burial in Agusan.
Still, this is not enough. It has to be documented.
Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, who presided the regular command conference yesterday, was surprised that Quinitio’s parents are not interested in her body.
Labella asked Ebo for the parents’ phone number so he can convince them to either claim the body or sign the waiver to the live-in partner. Anyway, the live-in partner is not eligible to claim the insurance because he is not the legal beneficiary.
“And he doesn’t want any money,” said Ebo of the common-law husband.
Labella also wants to convince Quinitio’s parents to be at the mass burial on Sept. 25.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 17, 2013.