PCSO gives Maguindanao victims’ families P10M
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Thursday turned over a P10-million donation to some families of victims of the Maguindanao massacre of 2009.
PCSO Chair Margarita Juico said most of the beneficiaries were families of nonmedia massacre victims or those who had not yet received financial assistance from the agency.
Each family got a check for P216,250.
Juico said the families of other victims, particularly the 32 media workers, had received their share of financial assistance from the over P5 million initially released by the PCSO.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, whose wife, two sisters, aunt and two other relatives were among the 57 people killed in the carnage, was expected to attend the simple check turnover rites at the PCSO office at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City but he did not show up.
His convoy in Tacurong City on Monday was attacked with a bomb but Mangudadatu escaped unscathed. Two persons, however, Maguindanao Board Member Russman Sinsuat Sr. and a passerby, were killed. Sinsuat’s son, Russman Jr., was with him in the vehicle that was hit and was wounded along with other people. The Sinsuats are related to the Mangudadatus.
Loss and grief
Juico explained that while the PCSO’s cash assistance program was mainly for the health and medical needs of poor beneficiaries, the agency also provides help to victims of calamities that are “national in character.”
“This (massacre) becomes national in character because other government agencies are now involved, like the Department of Justice,” Juico said. “We know that no amount would compensate for these families’ loss and grief. But we hope the little amount we gave them would somehow help them one way or another.”
“Maybe they can use the money for the education of their kids or to start a business. We know most of the victims were breadwinners so you can imagine how hard it was for their families to lose them,” said PCSO General Manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II.
Asmin Edza, 25, a nurse, said she would save the money for her kids’ future. She has a boy, 3, and a girl, 1, with whom she was pregnant when her husband, Norton, a driver, was killed.
Cielo Brizuela, 22-year-old daughter of lawyer Connie Brizuela, said she would put the money in the bank. A nurse, Cielo, the youngest of Brizuela’s three children, became teary-eyed when asked how her life had changed since her mother died. “Everything changed,” she said.
Sixty-three-year-old Lumangal Sabdula, who lost his wife Parida, said the money from the PCSO was a big help for his younger kids’ education.
“This is really a big help to my family,” he said, adding that his wife was a cousin of Mangudadatu.
Nenita Oquendo, who lost her husband Catalino and daughter, lawyer Cynthia Oquendo, will invest part of the money in a business.
“I’m thinking of putting up a lotto outlet,” she said.
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