Victims grateful for compensation after night market blast

A YEAR after the Roxas Night Market blast, a string of interventions have already been given by the city to aid the victims and the immediate family, including hospitalization and livelihood funds.

Davao City Mayor's Office chief of staff Lawyer Raul Nadela, together with the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO), handed over a total of P3.4 million to the survivors and immediate families of persons who were killed during the blast on August 11.

CSSDO livelihood focal person Astred Cajes said 68 beneficiaries received P50,000 each.

"They will be monitored regularly. We will conduct beneficiary assembly to update the program and their project," CSSDO chief Marilou Bermudo said, adding that the 47 beneficiaries from Davao will be monitored per district.

Bermudo added that the 21 beneficiaries living outside the city will be monitored by their local social welfare. The 21 beneficiaries are in Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

She said there are 74 actual listed beneficiaries but this was later reduced to 68 since the assistance was given to family heads instead, and some victims belong to one family.

As to the medical assistance of those who are still undergoing therapies, operations, and the like, Bermudo said they are also being catered by the Lingap Para sa Mahirap Program which has specialized protocol to immediately assist the victims who are asking for help.

Lingap Para sa Mahirap head Josephine Mitaran, in an interview with SunStar Davao last August 7, said they give priority to the injured victims of Roxas blast.

"[Naa mi para sa] therapy nila, medical needs, hospital billing nila kung ma-admit sila, ang process namo sa among accounting diretso with CSSDO, naa silay priority, karon naa mi duha ka pasyente nga na-admit sa sulod. Kadtong diri nagawasan ug tinae, ang opera 'ron kay isarado na dili na siya mag-colostomy ug balik ang treatment niya kay i-close na (We are here for the therapy, medical needs, hospital billings whenever they are admitted, we process it immediately in our own accounting unit and then straight to the CSSDO. They are prioritized. We have two patients now. One whose innards came out during the blast, will have his colostomy removed and the opening will be closed)," she said.

Mitaran said that some patients have fully recuperated while others still have continuing operations and medical needs. She said that an operation of one of the injured patient was scheduled on the last week of August.

She said the patients go to Lingap for their medicines and monthly for their laboratory needs and other supplies, like for the dressing.

A total of P7.5 million of the P8.7 million trust fund gathered from donations and received by the city from various donors was allowed by the 18th Davao City Council to be utilized by the city for livelihood and medical assistance.

Out of the P7.5 million approved request, P4 million was allotted for medical needs, while P3.5 million was approved for livelihood assistance.

Elde Ampaso, a sweet corn vendor who lost a leg after the blast, said that he will use the livelihood assistance to sell dried fish in his hometown in Butuan City.

Ampaso recalled that he was just standing beside Senior Police Officer 1 Jay Adremisin, queuing for a massage service on the night of the blast. He still wishes that he can return to sell at the Roxas Night Market.

Ampaso was also among those who benefited from P30,000 financial assistance.

Joanna Reyes, who lost her husband in the blast and among those who received worth P50,000 cash livelihood assistance, is thankful for the support of the local government of Davao.

"Sakit ang nahitabo pero ang atong Presidente, President Rodrigo Duterte, ug City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio ug tanang mga local nga ahensya ug tanang nakatabang wala ni sila nagpabaya sa atoang tanan. Nakita nato ang ilang sinseridad sa atoa nga biktima and unta ang ilang tabang nga gihatag sa atoa makahatag ug assistance jud. Nagpasalamat mi tanan kay Atty. Nadela local government of Davao na LGUs kung wala sila, walay maghatag sa ato ug kadasig and hope for the future sa ilang tabang especially sa kadtong mga anak nga nag-iskwela. I-stress lang nato nga thank you sa tanan, hinaut unta magkita-kita na man gud ta dili lang sa ingon ani nga event pero murag family naman gud ta. (The incident was painful to us but our president Rodrigo Duterte, City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, all the local agencies, and all who helped us did not abandon us. We witnessed their sincerity in helping all the victims. We are thankful to Atty. Nadela and the local government of Davao because if not for them, no one will give us encouragement and hope for the future especially those who are still studying. I want to stress, my deepest gratitude to all, I hope we will still meet each other, since we are already like family)," Reyes said.

Herman Adremesin, father of Senior Police Officer 1 Jay Adremesin who died during the blast, also received cash assistance from the city.

The older Adremesin said that he plans to buy farm equipment to improve his farm in Nurallah, South Cotabato, where he is residing with his wife.

In an interview with SunStar, Adremisin also thanked the local government for the assistance given them especially the burial assistance.

Disaster Focal person of the CSSDO Maria Luz FaraƱal said Thursday, August 31, that they have distributed worth P600,000 for the funeral assistance, equivalent to P40,000 each to the families of the 15 persons who died from the blast.

Nadela said that the children of the victims are also being provided with education assistance through the Educational Benefit Systems Unit (Ebsu) under the City Management Office.

Ebsu Technical Assistant Emilio Domingo Jr. said their office now shoulders the education of 43 students affected by the blast.

Nadela clarified that the Ebsu is a separate form of assistance not dependent on the trust fund.

Nadela said City Government's LandBank account (1472-1040-00) is still open for the donations. This savings account was opened for transparency and proper accounting when donations started pouring in.