Social workers sent to comfort families

/ 08:18 AM August 18, 2013

TWENTY-four social workers and eight debriefers were deployed to comfort the families of passengers of the MV St. Thomas Aquinas following last Friday’s accidental collision.

Information officer Jaybee Binghay of the Department of Social Welfare and Development said their personnel were deployed in hospitals and hotels wherein the survivors and their loved ones are billeted.


Survivors were housed at the Perpetual Succor Hospital, Chong Hua, Cebu City Medical Center, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Sugbutel, Stella Maris Hotel and at 2GO office.

“We are now focused on relief and rescue operations. We are giving them interventions based on what they need. For now, we are helping in providing their basic (food, clothing and medical) needs.


Binghay also said their personnel helped survivors process their trauma by letting them talk about their ordeal one-on-one. “For them to feel better and let them understand that they are normal people in an abnormal situation,” she said.

Cebu Daily News witnessed one session at the Sugbutel where a social worker comforted a crying survivor.

Binghay said their office is coordinating with other agencies in helping locate the relatives of the passengers in Mindanao and Luzon.

One relative, 27-year-old Rosalie Castro, said her mother Carmela was not in the passengers’ manifest.

Her mother Carmela was on board the M/V St Thomas Aquinas and was bound for Cebu to have her medical check-up.

Rosalie said her mother texted her that the ship was about to dock at past 8 p.m. last Friday.

She got worried when her mother was unable to reply to her text message.


A 19-year-old passenger, Fatima Colipano, of Bungabong Pantukan Davao del Sur, said she had yet to see her seven-month-old baby girl Ruffa Mae, her 53-year-old mother Evelyn Caro and her grandmother Crescenciana Colipano.

She said they rode the M/V St. Thomas Aquinas after the vessel they were supposed to ride in experienced engine trouble.

She said she’s hoping that her husband would find her in Cebu. Reporter Joy Cherry Quito and Correspondent Norman V. Mendoza

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TAGS: Accidents, Family, MV St. Thomas Aquinas, Social workers, Waterway & Maritime Transport
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