by Harley F. Palangchao
Malacañang fulfilled its promise to reach out to the families and survivors of the fatal vehicular accident in Buguias, Benguet last Sept. 9 by giving P1.4 million assistance on Monday.
Interior and Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas and Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda handed over P108,000 each to the families of the 13 fatalities, including 12 students, when the two officials met them in Baguio last Sept. 22.
Before meeting with the families, the two Malacañang officials together with Benguet Rep. Ronald Cosalan and other local officials visited Reyshan Latuwed and Jamerose Bankin, two of the three survivors, at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center where they are confined.
Latuwed is still under observation pending the arrival of the needed equipment for the surgery of her broken jaw while Bankin is recuperating after she underwent operation for her broken right leg.
The two survivors are under close supervision by BGHMC staff members upon instruction of Dr. Antonio Tactay, head of Orthopedics Department and BGHMC Director Manuel Acluba.
Their hospital expenses will be shouldered by Cosalan’s office while the municipal government of Buguias under Mayor Melchor Diclas and office of Benguet Gov. Nestor Fongwan are also assisting the survivors and families of the victims.
Diclas earlier appealed to the families of the fatalities that upcoming donations from a group of overseas workers from Buguias will be channeled to the survivors.
He said it would be for the interest of all parties that the survivors would live a normal life after the most tragic accident that gripped the community in recent memory.
Roxas earlier assured that Malacañang is willing to assist the families through the concerned provincial and regional line agencies led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
During the visit, Roxas read the message of President Benigno Aquino III, who was on official visit in Europe and the U.S.: “Makakaasa rin po kayo: Hindi kayo pababayaan ng ating pamahalaan. Nariyan ang iba’t ibang ahensiya at opisina para magbigay ng suporta, pati na rin ang inyong LGU. Patuloy rin po ang ating kapulisan sa kanilang imbestigasyon kaugnay ng trahedyang ito. Ang atin pong layunin: makapaglatag ng mga hakbang upang masigurong hindi na mauulit ang ganitong insidente.”
“Taos-pusong pasasalamat ang gusto kong ipaabot sa komunidad, samahan, kompanya, at mga pribadong indibidwal na hindi nagdalawang-isip na tumulong sa kani-kanilang paraan. Pinatunayan ninyo: talagang bukas ang palad ng Pilipino kapag may nakitang nangangailangan.”