"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Monday, June 30, 2008

Give dignity to the dead, closure to the living

MANILA, Philippines -- Senator Richard Gordon on Wednesday appealed to local officials in whose municipalities the bodies of victims of typhoon “Frank” (international codename: Fengshen) have been found not to bury the remains “until we have properly identified each and every one of them."

In a press conference Wednesday, Gordon said the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), of which he is chairman, would pick up the bodies and transport these to Manila.

“Properly identifying the bodies will help give closure to families of victims,” Gordon said.

Earlier, relatives of missing passengers of the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars, which capsized and sank with more than 800 passengers and crew off Sibuyan Island, Romblon Saturday, at the height of Frank’s rampage, appealed for bodies that had washed up on shore not to be buried.

However, in San Pascual town in Masbate province, Mayor Zacharina Lazaro ordered 19 bodies recovered on Tuesday buried for fear of an outbreak of disease. However, Colonel John Estoesta, chief of the Air Force Tactical Operations Group-4, quoting town, who had relayed the information, said pictures of the remains, including identifying marks, had been taken before burial.

Gordon said he has requested Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez to help secure court orders for the exhumation of buried bodies.

Red Cross data shows a total of 44 bodies buried in the provinces of Quezon and Masbate, although not all of these were confirmed to be casualties from the sinking of Princess of the Stars.

Local government units that continue burying recovered bodies despite the notice the PNRC has issued will face civil suits since they are “desecrating” the dead, Gordon said.

The PNRC has also asked the International Red Cross to assist victims of typhoon “Frank” because the local chapter’s supplies and resources might not be enough to provide relief to victims in the 24 provinces affected.

In Iloilo alone, some 250,000 residents are in evacuation centers after flashfloods hit the province.

“While the Red Cross continues to accept donations in kind, we would prefer to receive cash so we can buy needed supplies,” Gordon said.

Gordon urges local execs not to bury washed up bodies
‘Red Cross to transport remains to Manila’
By Katherine Evangelista
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 19:07:00 06/25/2008


Post a Comment

<< Home