February 25, 2024

Gov’t provides relief, financial aid to passengers of burnt ship in Basilan

THE government has been continuously providing relief and financial assistance to the passengers of the ship that had been razed by fire while sailing in Baluk-Baluk Island in Basilan, Department of National Defense officer-in-charge Senior Undersecretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said over the weekend.

In his report to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Saturday, Galvez said both national and local government units (LGUs) have extended the necessary assistance to the sea fire victims.

The DND official said so far, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the provincial government of Basilan distributed financial assistance worth Php640,000, and more than Php71,000 worth of food and non-food items.

Galvez said local and provincial authorities in Basilan and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) provided the victims hygiene kits and clothing.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) also distributed meals to the victims while the DSWD personnel conducted psychosocial intervention to the survivors staying at the DSWD Home for Women in Mampang, Zamboanga City.

The Philippine Red Cross also conducted first-aid treatment to the survivors and provided cadaver bags, the Defense chief told the President.

“During the retrieval operations, it came out that out of the 18 bodies visually identified, only 17 actual cadavers were recovered from the scene. Subsequently, the said bodies were brought to Villa Arcega Funeral Homes in Zamboanga City for proper identification and disposition,” Galvez said.

As of April 1, Galvez said authorities on the ground accounted for 28 dead, 32 missing, and 227 survivors from the sea mishap.

Currently, two Multi-purpose Assault Crafts (MPACs) of the Philippine Navy that served as the incident’s first responders are still in the area conducting search, rescue and retrieval operations, Galvez added.

“Furthermore, the OCD [Office of Civil Defense], in collaboration with the local agencies, continues the accounting of the victims (casualties and survivors) in order to process the necessary assistance and insurance claims. Our AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and PCG troops are also still in the area providing all the needed support and assistance to the victims’ families and the community,” Galvez said.