Vice President Jejomar Binay was in Ormoc City, Leyte on Sunday afternoon to extend sympathy to the victims of the motor banca M/B Kim Nirvana that capsized last week, killing at least 60 passengers.
During the visit, he assured Wilma Visto, a widow, that he will help in making sure that the remains of her husband, who hails from Bulacan, will be returned to their home. The couple was supposed to go to Camotes Island to visit Wilma’s father.
Binay also gave cash assistance to the survicors and the relatives of the victims.
He also pushed for a speedy investigation..
Meanwhile, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) cited the teamwork demonstrated by the Philippine Coast Guard, the local government of Ormoc City and the different Red Cross Chapters that responded promptly when the M/B Kim Nirvana-B capsized about 200 meters off shore shortly after leaving Ormoc City last July 2.
The motor banca, based on the boat’s manifest, carried 173 passengers and 16 crewmembers. To date, officials listed 61 people have died while 145 survived.
PRC Chairman Richard Gordon commended all teams for working together round the clock despite the bad weather to conduct search, rescue and retrieval operations after the double decker wooden hulled outrigger capsized in rough waters.
The Red Cross deployed first aiders, Search and Rescue Teams for rescue and retrieval, Social Services Teams and ambulances for transporting injured survivors and bodies to hospitals and funeral homes.
The teams provided survivors with food, non-food items, and clothes; as well as providing body bags for decent handling of the fatalities. Aside from administering first aid to injured survivors and transporting them to the hospitals for further treatment, the Red Cross team also established welfare desks to facilitate tracing and verification.
Gordon noted that the staff and volunteers had a hard job tracing and verifying the names of the survivors and the fatalities yet they did not give up. They also helped in reuniting survivors and the dead with their distraught relatives and provided psychosocial support for the survivors and the distressed relatives.
“All of you work as a great team to alleviate human suffering. We commiserate with all the families. Our people deserve a better life. God bless our country,” Gordon said.