President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (right) and Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista (left) visit the wake of the 13 casualties of the Guimaras tragedy to sympathize and to extend government assistance to the bereaved families.  Also in photo are (from left) Presidential Assistant Michael Diño, IloIlo City Mayor Jerry Trenas, and Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong Go”.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista, and other government officials flew to Iloilo City on August 7, 2019 to check on the survivors and condole with the bereaved families of the Guimaras tragedy.

The President personally offered his condolences to the bereaved families and provided each of them with P50,000 and a cell phone.

Among them was Ma. Nieves Grandeza, the sole survivor from among the 10 members of her family. Ma. Nieves shared that her partner Romeo Baguio, Jr. and their three-year-old son were among the nine casualties from their family.

Also, President Duterte visited the wake of the 13 casualties at the funeral home in Jaro, Iloilo City.

Immediate psycho-social support

For his part, Secretary Bautista has instructed DSWD Field Office VI to immediately assist in the conduct of psycho-social intervention to the survivors and bereaved families. This includes the conduct of Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) which allows survivors and bereaved families to process and reflect on what has happened to them. It helps them cope with their traumatic experiences by talking about the emotions they are going through.

Presently, DSWD Field Office VI and DOH are already discussing the schedule for the conduct of the psycho-social support sessions.

Meanwhile, as of press time, DSWD has already released P1.88 million in relief assistance to the survivors and families of those who passed on.

The amount consisted of P620,000 burial assistance at P20,000 per bereaved family;  P650,000 financial assistance at P10,000 each for the 65 survivors; and P17,356-worth of non-food items such as blankets, towels, malong, plastic mats, and used clothing.

The Field Office also provided P595,080 worth of family food packs to the crew of the pumpboats who are affected by the current travel ban being imposed in Guimaras. On top of these, DSWD social workers are also assessing them for possible provision of livelihood assistance through the Department’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

The Department will continue to work with the concerned local government units to determine other appropriate services for the survivors and the families of those who passed on in the incident. -30-