Friday, October 22, 2021

Surviving family’s lot: Lingering pain, needs

SINCE meat vendor Jurinda Casul’s death almost a year ago, her husband and four children have been hounded by financial problems.

The aid her family got from the Mandaue City Government helped the family get by for a few months and helped her eldest daughter finish college.

Kate Marie, 21, passed the licensure exams for electronic communications engineers last Oct. 2. She graduated from the University of Cebu-Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue Campus (UCLM), which had given her a 10-percent discount on tuition.

She started applying for a job. “We still don’t know how to pay for my siblings’ tuition this semester,” she said, looking at her three brothers’ tuition slips from UCLM.

Ben Joe, 18, is on his second year in his information technology course. Twins Benj Harold and Benj Karl, 14, attend Grade 8.

Benedicto, 47, said he hopes his sons could get a scholarship, as he cannot support their education with his meager income at the market.

He and Jurinda earned more than P1,000 every day before the earthquake, but Benedicto said he now earns only P100 to P300.

When vendors moved to the temporary public market located a few meters away from the quake-damaged market building, Benedicto landed in the stall in the back.

At the public market building, they occupied the most accessible stall.

Jurinda died after she was hit by falling debris inside the market building when the earthquake struck last Oct. 15, 2013.

The City gave her family P50,000 in financial assistance. Mayor Jonas Cortes also helped Kate pay her tuition for one semester.

At least 36 vendors and customers were wounded in the market when the 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck.

Still healing

Almost a year has passed but meat vendor Falconeri Abaya still suffers from physical pains caused by the debris that hit her as she scrambled to get out of building.

Abaya said she received P25,000 in financial assistance from the City Government but the amount was too small to cover the expenses her family incurred for her treatment.

She told Sun.Star Cebu her doctor wanted her to undergo therapy for her back pains but she could not afford to do so, especially since she has children studying in private schools.

Abaya, who was wounded on her head and back, said her injuries have yet to heal, giving her discomfort as she sells meat in the market.

For Jurinda’s family, the pain also remains.

Almost a year after the tragedy, Kate said her mother’s death remained fresh in their memory.

“Sakit gihapon kaayo (It still pains us),” she said. “Pero amo lang gihuna-huna pirmi nga gabantay siya namo kung asa man siya ron (But we just keep in mind that she’s still looking after us wherever she is now).”
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