By Martin Sadongdong
The family of Michelle Silvertino, the stranded woman who died while waiting for a bus ride in Pasay City on her way home to Camarines Sur, received groceries from the Philippine Army (PA) which they can use to establish a small retail(sari-sari) store , the military reported on Thursday.
Lt. Col. Darren Ringka, acting commanding officer of 565th Engineer Construction “Bicol Builders” Battalion (565ECB) under the 51st Engineer Brigade, said the military wanted to provide a stable source of income for the family of the 33-year-old single mother.
“The 565ECB [came] up with the idea of [the] said activity to give the family a new start and to sustain their everyday needs from the sales that will be raised in the sari-sari store,” Ringka said.
Ringka personally handed over at least 10 bags of groceries to Michelle’s mother, Marilyn, who is now taking care of her late daughter’s four orphaned children, at their house in Barangay Burabod, Calabanga, Camarines Sur.
“Assorted na po ito ‘Nay pwede niyo na itong ibenta. Kikita na rin kayo rito kahit papano. Pagulung-gulungin niyo na lang po para maka-sustain sa mga pangangailangan niyo araw-araw (These are assorted groceries and you can sell them. You will earn something from it. Then you can roll the capital to sustain your daily needs),” Ringka told Marilyn.
In return, Marilyn thanked the soldiers for the assistance.
According to Ringka, Marilyn made sure that she would “give her all for the sake of her grandchildren.”
Michelle was found unconscious by a concerned citizen at a footbridge in Pasay City on June 5. She reportedly had a high fever and experienced difficulty in breathing. She was brought to Pasay City General Hospital where she was declared dead on arrival by attending doctors.
According to police, Michelle had been working in Antipolo, Rizal and tried to go home on May 31 after days of not seeing her children due to the limited transportation in Metro Manila brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Her employer reportedly brought her to Pasay City where she could take her chances to find a Bicol-bound bus amid the limited transportation. Unfortunately, Michelle couldn’t find a ride home after five days and, coupled with her poor health condition, eventually died.
Michelle’s story touched many people as it highlighted the plight of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) in different parts of the country due to the ongoing health crisis.