Mom prays daughter, 4, forgives her misgivings

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013


BEFORE she left her rented room to work last Friday night, Flordeliza Mutoc said that her four-year-old daughter Maria Alexa asked for her favorite gray dress with smiley prints.

But she was not able to give the dress to Maria because it was kept in her friend’s house.

Yesterday afternoon, Maria was with her well-loved dress, a gift from a family friend.

The dress was placed inside the girl’s coffin during her burial at the Carreta Catholic Cemetery. Maria was found dead after the fire razed two boarding houses in Barangay Parian, Cebu City last Saturday dawn.

“Mapasaylo ta ko niya nga dili ko perpekto nga pagka-inahan sa iyaha (I hope she can forgive me for I am not a perfect mother to her),” said teary-eyed Flordeliza, 24.

She hopes she can accept her daughter’s death in due time.

Maria’s sister Princess Rhaine, 2, was saved by their guardian, Bernardo Ortiz, 53.

Princess and Ortiz also attended the funeral. Some parts of their bodies were in bandages because of the burns they suffered during the fire.

While neighbor Aurelia Solon led the prayer, Ortiz was restless. He bent his knees and bowed his head while holding candles.

After the candles melted, Ortiz went away and sat on a concrete bench.

He stared at the ground for a long time. He was silent.

During the fire, Ortiz saved Princess. He thought he brought along Maria with him outside their rented room on the second floor.

He realized that Maria was left behind when a neighbor ask him about the girl.

“Wa gyod ko kasalbar niya (I was not able to save her),” said Ortiz later in an interview.

While cemetery workers placed Maria’s coffin inside a vault, Flordeliza and her friends wailed. Princess later cried.

Flordeliza said it is hard for her to celebrate Christmas without Maria. She said they will attend a mass.

“Hinaot makasabot siya nako nganong wala ko ato nga time (I hope she understands me why I was not around that time). Gibuhat nako akong mabuhat sama sa usa ka inahan aron nga mabuhi nako sila maski ako lang usa (I did what a mother should do so I could raise them even though I am a single parent),” she said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 17, 2013.

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