Goodbye, for now, relatives bid the nameless dead-A A +A
Thursday, September 26, 2013
FORTY-SIX white balloons and butterflies were released during a mass burial yesterday by families who last saw their missing loved ones before they boarded the M/V St. Thomas Aquinas last month.
Carmelchito Delos Archos brought pictures of Arkhi Gian Yee, his five-year-old nephew, who did not survive the collision last Aug. 16 between the Aquinas and the Sulpicio Express Siete.
Yee was with his grandmother, Carmencita Yee, and his uncle when the Aquinas sank that night. His grandmother and uncle survived, but Arkhi Gian is among those still missing.
Based on the information printed near the photo, Arkhi Gian wore a green T-shirt, shorts and light blue Spiderman briefs when he was last seen alive. He was the family’s first grandchild.
Like Delos Archos, other families with missing loved ones sobbed during the mass presided by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma in the Carreta cemetery.
The process of identifying the 46 who were buried yesterday has started. Families whose loved ones are finally identified may transfer the remains to a graveyard of their choice.
At least 21 others, however, remain missing and may be still within the wreck of the Aquinas, which sank after the accident.
Talisay City resident Liliosa Grana, 61, said she is hoping that two of the unidentified bodies are her those of her stepmother, Marianita Enecio, and half-brother Joseph Enecio.
Her father, Rolando Enecio, was already laid to rest in the Talisay cemetery.
All throughout the mass, a woman cried.
Marlene Laurente, 53, traveled seven hours from Surigao del Sur to Cebu to attend the mass burial.
She kept on saying that her daughter Shiela Mae Laurente, 21, was one of those in the caskets, after she earlier identified her daughter’s body.
Shiela Mae was traveling to Cebu to look for a job, after she graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from one of the universities in Surigao.
Luz Torrevillas, 2Go travel passage manager in the Visayas, said one body was recently released to a family, so only 46 were buried yesterday.
Case numbers were placed on the white coffins, to guide the authorities as soon as DNA tests confirm the bodies’ identities.
Undersecretary Benjie Martinez, a representative of Vice President Jejomar Binay, extended his condolences to the families.
Among of those who attended were Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Talisay City Mayor Johnny delos Reyes and Councilor Dave Tumulak.
Davide asked everyone to pray for the victims as well as their families.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 26, 2013.