The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has committed to extend assistance to the 26 families whose homes were engulfed by a fire on Good Friday along Fundador Road in Barangay San Miguel.
Financial help will also be extended to the Tesico family members who lost their mother in the fire.
DSWD Undersecretary Aimee Neri arrived in Palawan on Monday night and immediately visited the families who are temporarily taking shelter at the Mateo Jagmis Elementary School and the children of fire victim Myrna Mae Tesico at the Palawan Adventist Hospital (PAH).
Myrna Mae died in the fire while reportedly trying to save her daughters Kirzteen Joan Angeli, 12, and Keilah Joanna Angelene, 9. She suffered 90 degrees burn on her body.
Both her daughters remain confined at the Burns Unit of the PAH.
In an interview, Neri said President Rodrigo Duterte ordered her for the DSWD to shoulder all the hospital bills and funeral expenses of the two children’s mother.
As of current, Myrna Mae’s funeral expenses have already reached around 50,000.
Myrna Mae’s body was transported to Brooke’s Point Tuesday morning by a vehicle borrowed from a local government unit, she said.
Her remains will be buried there, Neri said.
“And DSWD ay walang [vehicle] kaya makikipag-coordinate na lang kami sa local government para sa sasakyan. Humingi na rin kami ng funeral billing na umabot na daw sa P40,000,” she said.
Neri said the hospital bills and required medicines of the two children will be shouldered by the central office of the Malasakit Center since the existing in Palawan is only available at the Ospital ng Palawan (ONP), which is a government facility.
“Ang Malasakit Center sa Palawan ay limited lang sa government hospital kaya Malasakit Central ang magdo-download [ng pondo]. Ang sabi sa akin aabutin ng halos dalawang buwan ang mga bata kaya kahit abutin man ‘yan ng million bahala na ang presidente maghanap kasi baka kami naman ang managot sa kanya,” she said.
DSWD also distributed food packs and hygiene kits to the homeless families at the Mateo Jagmis Elementary School.
She explained that they are trying to coordinate with the National Housing Authority (NHA) for possible housing assistance for them.
“Gusto namin marinig kung ano ang hinaing ninyo para sa possibility na kailangan ninyo magtayo ng bahay, mga kailangan na materyales para mabigyan po kayo ng panimula para makapagtayo ng bahay,” Neri told the residents.
She added that other national government agencies will also provide assistance to the victims, including the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
In a separate interview, elder sister Kate Tesico, eldest sister of Kirzteen Joan Angeli and Keilah Joanna Angelene, confirmed that the national government has committed to help their family in shouldering the expenses.
“May tulong naman din po ang pamahalaan. Nagkausap po kami ng taga-DSWD kagabi pero hindi namin sure kung kasama na lahat doon. Hindi kasi malinaw kung saan sa hospital bill sila tutulong, kung kasama na ang doctor’s fee,” she said.
Help pours in for Tesico sisters.
Aside from the national government, help from various groups and concerned citizens have also started to pour in for the Tesico family.
At Go Fund Me, a donation drive for the Tesico sisters was started on April 20 by Cerritos, California resident Chiqui Neri, targeting to raise $20,000.
“The Tesico sisters lost their mother in the tragic fire that broke out on the 19th of April in Brgy. San Miguel, Puerto Princesa after suffering from a 90% burn leaving them orphaned and homeless. The sisters Kirzteen (12 yrs old) & Keilah (9 yrs old) are severely injured and both suffering from 3rd-degree burns (60% and 80%) in their bodies and difficulty in breathing,” Neri said.
Currently, the donation drive has already raised $1,813 or around P94,200 from donors such as film director Olivia Lamasan who donated, singer and actress Agot Isidro, actress Cherry Pie Pichache, incumbent Cavite vice governor Jolo Revilla and other anonymous donors.
Palawan News’ charity drive for the Tesico family also raised over P56,000 to help pay for the P50,000 hospital bills of Myrna Mae.
The amount was raised with the help of supporters of the news agency such as Yamang Bukid Farm, businesswomen Ruth Borda Consebido and Annabelle Rovallo Dimaapi, Mia Felipe, Rante Jalover Ramos through the Palawan Accounting and Business Services (PABS), 1st Palawan District House Rep. Chicoy Alvarez, Juan Antonio Alvarez, Staff of the Office of Rep. Alvarez, and Loyd Villagracia Policapio of LVP Construction.
The amount has already been turned over by Joy Tabuada, the editor-in-chief and publisher of Palawan News, on Tuesday to Kate at the PAH.