Family dealt double blow

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

ON NOV. 8, the Puebla family lost their home to super typhoon Yolanda after it struck the northernmost towns of Cebu Province.

They have yet to fully come to grips with the disaster when they were dealt another blow.

Dead on the spot

A daughter died, while four other members of the family were seriously injured when a 10-wheeler truck carrying sugarcane workers plunged into a cliff in Barangay Ilihan, Tabogon early yesterday morning.

“Wa pa gyud gane kaayo mi kabangon unya naa napud ni (We’re still reeling from last month’s event and now this),” said Jun, the 40-year-old patriarch.

His daughter Juvelyn, 20, died on the spot. His wife Maria Billy, 39; son Juven, 22; daughters Julie Ann, 16; and Josseña, 15, are at the Severo Verallo Memorial Hospital in Bogo City.

His wife and their children are tapaseros, or sugarcane workers.

Jun used to be one until he stopped so he could look after their livestock.

Jun told Sun.Star Cebu he cooked breakfast that consisted of rice and dried fish for his family before they left for work.

While they bathed, he prepared their lunch. “Nangape nalang gane ‘to sila para di ma-late (They just drank coffee because they didn’t want to be late),” he said.

The family lives in Barangay Caudawan where the truck fetched his wife and daughters every day.

Before leaving, Jun said Juvelyn asked him if he wanted her to bring some kumpay, or napier grass, for the livestock.

The workers were supposed to get their weekly salary yesterday, but Juvelyn had other plans.

Jun was busy plowing their farm when his neighbor told him about the accident.

He rushed to the crash site since he knew his family was on board the truck.

When he got there, he saw Juvelyn’s remains covered with tarpaulin. The rest of his family was taken to Bogo City.

He wanted to check on his wife and other children’s condition, but he couldn’t leave his dead daughter. “Wala sa’y mobantay niya diri (No one else will stand watch over her body),” Jun said.


Dazed and confused, he almost fainted when a resident brought him to a nearby house where he was given bread and water.

Jun, during the interview, said they just built a house made of bamboo slats and nipa.

“Nawagtangan na hinuon mi og usa ka kuyog sa balay (Now we’re missing one family member),” he said.

Jun said Yolanda destroyed their crops and they had to rely on relief goods from different organizations to survive.

The tapaseros, he said, have just resumed working at the beginning of this month.

His daughters Julie Ann and Josseña, who are on school break, grabbed the opportunity to earn money to help the family.

If he had one regret, Jun said, it was to let his family get on the truck. “Dili ta to sila maapil (Then they wouldn’t have been included in the accident),” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 22, 2013.

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