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Posts Tagged ‘typhoons

A Friend of the Sorianos Speaks

with 2 comments

This is an email I received from Lovely Aseron two days ago. The facts are disturbing and I think everyone following this story, and the general public, should know this. My clarification–not justification–on certain details is in red.

Hi, I’m a friend of the Soriano family. My fiance, Edu Abalos, is a first cousin of Romulo Soriano. I would like to clear up some things about this article and the other one before it:

1. Kuya Mulo (Romulo Soriano) and his family weren’t on their way to Manila. He was driving Ate Malou to the Provincial Hall where she was expected to report together with her colleagues at work in Provincial Health Office (PHO). They were assigned to go to Balayan to give assistance to the typhoon victims there.

Got this news of their supposed trip to Manila from an ABS-CBN report.

2. Mayor Dimacuha was at the site just after the bridge collapsed.

3. Lolit Cos or whoever she is wasn’t the one who found Ate Malou. The Badjaos found her and rescued her on their own.

The Badjaos did save her. But my source at the Batangas Police Provincial Office told me that she was spotted by one Lolit Cos first who alerted the Badjaos to rescue her.

4. The praise for the Coast Guard is an exaggeration. The family had to go to them, use connections, and suffer numerous delays before help was given to them.

*** Searching for Kuya Mulo and Nico was primarily a family effort. Lives were at stake, but the government never made them feel that searching for Kuya Mulo and Nico was of utmost importance and a priority. The family had to rent boats and even borrow a private speedboat from Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), through the effort of Kuya Mulo’s aunt who works for COA-PPA. When Nico was found in Tingloy, the male relatives on board the borrowed speedboat from PPA brought the body to PPA Batangas. While the other relatives were waiting, a police officer approached them. He went and said how the PNP found a boat and escorted the body of Nico from Tingloy to Batangas City. It was an outright lie. The aunt who personally borrowed the speedboat from PPA told him, “you’re mistaken, I borrowed the boat from PPA, not you. My nephews are the ones bringing the body from Tingloy, not you.”

*** Although Ate Malou was a government employee, and the reason the family left the house that morning in the first place is to drive her to work (on a Saturday, if I might add), we never felt the help of the government. Vice Governor Leviste went to Wawa and the hospital to visit Ate Malou, his promise that they will help in searching for Kuya Mulo and Nico were nothing but empty words. He specifically said that certain government agencies have been put on alert. However, when the family went to Mabini because of an unofficial report, from a friend, of a body found there, they were surprised and disappointed upon their arrival that the Coast Guard and Barangay officials were not aware of the situation. the barangays near the coast should have been informed since Kuya Mulo and Nico might have been anywhere. Governor Vilma Santos went to the home of the Soriano family after the burial. When asked where she was during the ordeal, she said the bridge was not within the jurisdiction of her office.

*** It is frightening that trying times like the one that happened is a continuing manifestation of how our government can not be relied on.

Written by nealm

14 November 2009 at 3:11 PM

Nicolo’s Body Recovered, Car Found; Romulo Still Missing

with 12 comments

I have a confirmed report from a Batangas Police Provincial Office source that as of 3:42 pm Manila Time (GMT +8) today, 3-year-old Nicolo Soriano‘s body was recovered near Tingloy, an island-municipality across the Batangas Bay, a linear distance of about 15 miles (about 25 kilometers) from the site of the collapsed bridge and 32 hours after the incident. His remains is now at the San Fernando Funeral Homes in Batangas City.

Meanwhile, their white Honda Civic car was found underwater near RK Village, a few hundred meters from the disaster site, and search and recovery operations continue for the missing Romulo Soriano.

Maria Lourdes Romulo Soriano or Malou, the survivor, is still confined at Saint Patrick’s Hospital in Batangas City. According to the same source, Malou was heard crying for help by one Lolit Cos as she was  floating among the flood flotsam near Wawa, a seaside community in the city. She then sought the help of a Badjao (known for their swimming and sea-fearing abilities) whose name’s phonetic spelling (he couldn’t spell) is Karsani Bartapa to retrieve her from the raging water.

There is also an unconfirmed account that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) did an inspection of the bridge a week prior to the collapse and found it to be structurally sound.

So many questions, so few answers.

But kudos to Karsani and the tireless, nameless Philippine Coast Guard and Philippine National Police rescuers and other volunteers. They are our heroes. [d]*

Written by nealm

1 November 2009 at 9:50 AM

A Bridge That Broke Its Promise

with 20 comments

Bridge of Promise by bobit (goaguila)

Typhoon Santi (Mirinae) washed away a four-decade-old, 20-ton-capacity steel Bridge of Promise at 7:30 a.m. today, when the Signal #3 typhoon was leaving Batangas City.  A family in their white Honda Civic car was crossing the bridge on their way to Manila when it actually collapsed and plunged into the murky Calumpang river. One of the three passengers, Malou Soriano, 39, a Provincial health worker, was rescued almost an hour later a few hundred meters downstream after people saw her hanging to a tree and was rushed to Saint Patrick’s Hospital in downtown Batangas City. As of this writing, search and rescue is still on-going for her husband, Romulo, 40, and her son, Nicolo, 3.

When I went to the site, the trusses appear to be intact hinting at the questionable structural integrity of the weakened bridge piers in the middle of the span which witnesses saw were the first to succumb to the raging water.  One driver told me that he felt the “weird shaking” of the weakened bridge yesterday before the storm’s onslaught prompting him to drive faster across the bridge for fear it would “give in”. I saw a Coast Guard rubber boat plying the river once downstream and twice upstream when I was there for  about an hour. No frogmen/divers in sight, neither were there any frantic rescuers. Only curious onlookers, mostly with their camphones, a guy with “Official Photographer” emblazoned on his shirt, and other rubbernecks. Talks were aplenty about premonitions, hindsights, and how corrupt politicians and disasters don’t go together. I asked if anyone saw the Mayor (Eddie Dimacuha). None in the crowd could answer me. “How long do you think they (the government) could rebuild this?” I asked a couple of guys next to me. “If not for Shell (which uses this bridge to transport their crude and refined oil), this bridge would not have been built,” the guy in white shirt retorted.  I disagreed. It’s election time, duh.

We are a nation of resilient people. But the worst disaster that we have yet to recover from is corruption. We didn’t need Ondoy, Pepeng and Santi to know this. I pray for Malou’s recovery and Romulo’s and Nicolo’s rescue. I pray for our enlightenment.

P.S. I searched online in vain to validate the details on the bridge and what not. I am an amateur blogger so the facts on the bridge are not fully vetted, except for the details of the disaster and the family which are in the news. [d]*

Written by nealm

31 October 2009 at 10:05 AM