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14-year-old Jolo blast victim dies in Zamboanga City hospital

/ 06:43 PM January 29, 2019
14-year-old Jolo blast victim dies in Zamboanga City hospital

Police officers and soldiers stand outside bomb-hit Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, Sulu, a stronghold of Islamist militants. At least 20 people were killed when two bombs hit the cathedral on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, days after voters backed the creation of a new Muslim autonomous region. (Photo by NICKEE BUTLANGAN / AFP)

ZAMBOANGA CITY — A 14-year-old girl who was severely wounded in the bombing of a Jolo cathedral died on Monday at the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) here.

The girl was among the first 18 patients who were taken to ZCMC from Jolo on Sunday night, hours after the twin blasts at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, which initially killed at least 20 people.

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Dr. Kadil Sinolinding Jr., the health secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), identified the girl as Chienly Camille Tabas Rubio.

“The girl succumbed to multiple organ injuries, particularly in the head,” Sinolinding said.

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The girl’s death raised the official toll in Jolo’s twin blasts at 21, with several bodies still unidentified, and at least 112 wounded.

READ: Jolo twin blasts death toll reaches 20, with 111 others injured

Dr. Nida Tan, ZCMC director, said another patient, also a minor, who suffered only minor injuries had discharged while another one was still battling for her life at the intensive care unit.

As Tan was making rounds on Monday night, seven more blast victims from Jolo arrived at the emergency unit. Most of the patients had burns and fractures.

“Anytime on Tuesday, we expect more blast victims — 22 to 25 patients to be transferred via C-130 [military transport plane]. Our hands are really full,” Tan said.

She said all her doctors were working round the clock to save more lives.

Sinolinding, who joined Tan in making her rounds, said: “The sight is heartbreaking, only demons can do such horrible acts.”

But she said: “All other survivors, except the comatose lady at the ICU, showed better prognosis and shall recover.”

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Francis Salinas, a 60-year-old patient, nearly lost his left arm in the powerful blast.

“I was thrown hard by its impact,” Salinas said.

He was sitting at the far left corner of the church when the blast happened.

“I didn’t move. I waited until smoke went down and stood up when another bomb exploded outside,” he said. “I just realized that my arm, from the shoulder down was limply hanging.”

According to Tan, Salinas had an open fracture on his left arm, which had been operated on, and he was now stable.

“This is the first time that bad people attacked church people,” 52-year-old Ricky Morales, who had been a church helper since 1990, said. “Praying and expressing our faith in Sulu will be different now.”

His wife Gloria and two daughters were seriously wounded in the bombing.

“I am planning to bring my family to our native place in Dumaguete,” Morales said.

Morales said he attended the first Mass at the cathedral at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday. His wife and two daughters, who are choir members, attended the second Mass at 8:00 a.m.

“I am grateful that they chose to sit near the back, five pews away from the entrance because had they been seated in front I could have lost my family, too,” Morales said.

His wife objected to his plan of leaving Jolo.

Struggling to speak, Gloria said: “I want my children to finish their studies before we leave Jolo.”

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman urged authorities to pin down the real culprits of the twin blast.

“I was informed there were suspects now based on CCTV footages, but it’s not yet confirmed. It’s time for the people in Sulu to speak up and help the authorities in the investigation,” Hataman said.

Along with Sinolinding, Hataman extended financial assistance to the blast victims expected to crowd the ZCMC.

“More patients will be flown here because the hospital has better facilities,” Hataman said. “We have some teams deployed here to coordinate with hospital officials to ensure they get better medical attention and treatment.” /atm

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TAGS: Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Jolo twin blasts, Kadil Sinolinding Jr., Nida Tan, Zamboanga City Medical Center, ZCMC
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