Aid, counseling for children of Naga landslide victimsCebu Daily News
BOTH the Capitol and the Naga City government pledged assistance to the children of the couple who died after being crushed under a boulder that hit their shanty in sitio Pangilatan, barangay Cantaw-an, Naga City last Tuesday.
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, who participated during yesterday’s Charter Day celebration at Naga City, said the Provincial Social Welfare and Development (PSWD) office would provide burial and cash assistance to the couple’s children.
Naga City Mayor Valdemar Chiong also said the city could shoulder the burial expenses of 47-year-old motorcycle driver Dionesio Villarmia and his 42-year-old wife Juanita, who died in their sleep.
Their children were reportedly turned over to their 88-year-old grandmother Feliciana Villarmia.
But they will also undergo stress de-briefings by the Naga City Social Welfare Office.
The eldest of the four children, Rommel, recounted how their roof gave way and saw their parents die in front of them.
“We heard rumbling from the mountain a few minutes before the incident but we didn’t mind it. We thought it was just thunder and lightning since it was raining outside,” the couple’s eldest child Rommel said.
He said the incident happened in a few seconds.
He woke up after sensing something hit him in the face and when he looked at his parents, he already saw blood all over them.
“I was shocked. I did not even see what hit us. But I realized it must have been something hard because the wall of our house was destroyed,” he said.
Rommel called his cousin who helped carry his father out of the rubble.
The couple’s shanty, which can be reached after a three-kilometer car ride from the city proper and another three-kilometer walk, was destroyed in a landslide caused by last Tuesday’s heavy rains.
Blood stains can still be seen on the bamboo floor while the lamp used by the family was still on along with the boiled bananas that was supposed to be their supper.
The large rock was later found a kilometer away down from the house where it hit a gmelina tree before it landed across a small creek.
The shanty built of bamboo and cogon grass was built on a slope.
The couple lived there despite warnings to relocate after a landslide hit the same area last year and destroyed their house.
One of the couple’s children Maricel was unable to speak after learning about her parents’ death.
“There will be ongoing counseling. It’s better if they express their sentiments this early,” said City Social Welfare officer Delia Tibay.
Food assistance will be given to them, she said. Villarmia said she believed at first that the couple were being treated in a hospital.
Despite threats to their safety, she said she will rebuild their shanty anew. Barangay officials of Cantaw-an said they will remind the families there to vacate the area anew.
Last Tuesday’s landslide in Naga City, also known as a rockslide, was the fastest and most dangerous type, state senior geologist Abraham Lucero of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau said.
A treep slide is the least dangerous since it’s gradual and doesn’t happen suddenly, Lucero said.
He said he reminded barangay officials to abandon the site.
“Our advisory discourages people from using the steep trail near the landslide site that leads to neighboring barangay Inayagan,” said Lucero, who was accompanied by the nephew of one of the victims. Correspondents Carmel Loise Matus, Carine M. Asutilla, Jessa Chrisna Marie J. Agua and Sean Timothy Salvador