Roxas survivors get P3.4M for livelihood

After 364 days since the night of September 2, 2016 explosion that ripped through the Roxas Night Market, bombing survivor Erickson Nacario held back tears when asked if he still long for justice. The explosion left 15 people dead and 74 injured.

“They’ve been arrested. Guinoo na lang bahala nila (I leave it all to God),” he said without any hint of anger and bitterness. Nacario is scheduled for another operation for the broken bones on his right arm. He was hit on his right arm, right foot and another on the left arm. He continues to undergo therapy.

The 38-year-old Nacario can only thank that he and his wife survived that night when they were going to have a massage at Roxas night market. The couple was few steps away where the bomb exploded. His wife also sustained injuries. The couple has three children.

So far, Nacario tends to his small store. He said he cannot go back as real estate agent because he could no longer bear walking to show the properties to prospective buyers due to a damaged right foot.

The city government continues to foot the bill of his medication and therapy. From the first day of his hospitalization until today, close to half a million pesos already spent for him alone.

Nacario is one among the 68 survivors qualified to get aid from the trust fund the city raised from donations.

The beneficiaries are coming mostly from Davao City and some from Surallah, South Cotabato, Cotabato City, Compostela Valley Province, Surigao, Butuan and Davao Oriental.

Each of the qualified beneficiaries get P50,000 assistance as start-up capital for livelihood. The total amount reached P3.4 million for livelihood.

Lawyer Raul Nadela, chief of staff of Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, said the trust fund set up from the cash donations amounted to P8.7 million.

Nadela said there are three kinds of assistance that the city government extends to the survivors: livelihood, continuing medication, and education.

The education of the survivors (students) and the dependents of those who died in the incident is covered by the city government under its Educational Benefit System Unit (EBSU), which has already 1,051 scholars.

“This is the commitment of the city government to help,” Nadela said. The money was raised through the donations coming from the city government, Office of the President, PAGCOR, Davao Medical Education Management Service, PDP-Laban, House of Representatives, Davao City First District Representative Karlo Nograles, Davao Evangelical Church, and Kiwanis Philippines South.

Nadela said the city government will continue to monitor the beneficiaries to ensure they use the money properly. The city will also help them get training as small entrepreneurs.

Melvin Antigas, a masseuse, said the assistance is a big help for them. Antigas went back to Roxas Night market after recovering from minor injury. She said she cannot do anything but to go back to Roxas to earn income. It is her livelihood since 2008.

This time, she said, she and other colleagues are more vigilant and conscious of their surroundings. “We are more watchful of bags, look at the faces of customers,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Joana Reyes said the assistance gives them more encouragement to move on. Reyes thanked the city government and the donors for all forms of assistance to her and other survivors of the Roxas bombing. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)