Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has sent sympathy to the families and friends of young volunteers from Batangas who passed away due to a vehicular accident after distributing relief goods for victims of the eruption of the Taal Volcano.
De Lima, who has been monitoring the Taal crisis thru her staff and media reports, heard of the freak accident last Jan. 14 that took the lives of Rio John Abel and Maximino Alcantara III while driving through Banaybanay 1st Road, in Lipa City.
“Nakikiramay po ako sa pamilya nina Rio at Maximino. Lubos ko pong ikinalulungkot ang nangyaring trahedya sa kanila,” she said.
“Ngunit kasabay po nito ay ang labis ko ring paghanga sa ipinamalas nilang dedikasyon para makatulong sa kapwa sa gitna ng kalamidad,” the Senate Social Justice Chair added.
Through Facebook posts of family members and friends, it was learned that Alcantara died instantly while Abel, who remained conscious for several moments, was seen asking for help from onlookers despite being pinned down by the crash.
Shortly, however, Abel passed away. An unnamed third passenger survived and was reportedly transferred to a hospital nearby. Their friends have spent the day prior handing out food, water, masks and used clothes to victims of the Taal eruption.
“Patuloy po natin silang ipanalangin at ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay sa oras na ito ng matinding pagsubok,” the Senator from Bicol said.
“Alalahanin natin sina Maximino at Rio, hindi sa sinapit nilang ito, kundi sa kung paano nila inalay ang kanilang lakas at oras para makatulong at magmalasakit sa higit na nangangailangan,” added De Lima.
Last Jan. 12, the Taal Volcano erupted, causing clouds of smoke and ash to envelope parts of Batangas, Cavite and Laguna.
In 2018, De Lima filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 2013, also known as the “Emergency Volunteer Protection Act of 2018,” wherein safeguards are sought for qualified and registered volunteers responding to emergency situations, including disasters.
Based on the measure, volunteers who died in the line of duty shall be given a death benefit of PhP300,000 and those who shall be hospitalized or be required medical attendance for injuries sustained while in the performance of duty a reimbursement of actual medical costs up to PhP200,000. (30)