By Raymund Antonio
Vice President and opposition leader Leni Robredo on Monday condoled with the families of some of the victims in the Iloilo-Guimaras sea tragedy during her wake visit in Iloilo City and Guimaras province.
Robredo visited the wake of the nine fatalities in Barangay De Leon, Mandurriao district in Iloilo, then she met with the survivors and grieving families of the other victims at the Jordan municipal hall in Guimaras.
They received cash assistance from the country’s second top official.
“Ito kasi, napakahirap noong pinagdadaanan, lalo itong pamilyang ito—apat iyong nawala sa kanila. Pati iyong survivors, tingin ko sobrang hirap din iyong pinagdadaanan kasi iyong trauma,” she said in a media interview in Iloilo City.
(This is hard, especially for this family who lost four of them. Including the survivors, I think they are going through difficult times because of the trauma.)
The Vice President spoke to Joan Java and Julia Ann Alejado who lost four family members in the sinking of passenger motorboat Chi-Chi in Iloilo Strait last August 3.
They lost Adora Java, 54; Jhaeron Mars Salanatin, 13; Jen Lloyo Salanatin, 9; and one-year-old Jhairus James Alejado. They all hailed from Mandurriao.
As of last count, 31 passengers died in the boat-sinking incident after the Philippine Coast Guard terminated its search and rescue operations. M/B Chi-Chi, along with M/B Keziah 2 and Jenny Vince, capsized due to the sudden violent gust of wind called squall.
Robredo said she understood what the families were going through after their loved ones perished in the sea tragedy.
The former housing chief recalled the untimely passing of her husband and former Interior secretary Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash in the sea off Masbate seven years ago.
“Ako, nawalan din ako, similar circumstance na nahanap din sa dagat. Mahirap talaga kaya makakatulong din na maramdaman na mayroon silang mga malalapitan in the future just in case,” she said
(I also lost a loved one, similar circumstance that his body was found at sea. It was really hard that’s why it will be helpful if they feel they can approach someone in the future just in case.)
“Gusto lang natin siguraduhin na lahat na puwedeng maibigay, kayang ibigay. Marami naman iyong tumutulong, pero tingin ko never enough, ‘di ba, lalo kapag nawalan,” Robredo added.
(We want to make sure we provide them everything as long as we can. There are a lot of people who help, but it would never be enough, right, especially when you lost your loved ones.)