Kin of Pinoy killed in Taiwan bridge collapse seek aid
The relatives of one of 2 Filipinos killed when a bridge in Taiwan collapsed onto several fishing boats earlier this week is appealing for financial aid.
CCTV footage captured the moment the 140-meter long single-arch bridge tumbled down onto at least 3 fishing boats as a petrol tanker that was crossing also plunged into the water on Taiwan's east coast early Tuesday.
The 2 Filipino fatalities were identified as Andree Serencio and Gorge Impang.
Impang's wife Mary Ann said an official from Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) told their family that they needed to fly to Taiwan to process some documents and shoulder their air fare before it is reimbursed.
"Kagabi pa kami nagbu-booking para sa flight sana namin bukas, hindi kami makapasok online. Nananawagan kami ng ibang tutulong, sana mag-shoulder sa ticket namin para kami'y makaalis kaagad-agad para maasikaso namin iyong asawa ko doon," Mary Ann said in a DZMM interview.
(We have been trying to book a flight for tomorrow since last night, but we can't do it online. We are appealing to those who
want to help to shoulder our tickets so that we can leave immediately and take care of my husband.)
MECO-Taiwan's Director for Administration Gerry De Belen said he would double check the protocol for getting tickets for the Impala family.
"May proseso po tayo para d'yan. Tutulungan po sila ng MECO para po sila'y makarating dito, pati po iyong pag-asikaso ng pakikipag-ugnayan nila sa gobyerno po ng Taiwan, kami rin po ang mamamagitan," he told DZMM.
(We have a process for that. The MECO will help them get there and coordinate with the government of Taiwan, mediate between them.)
A third Filipino fisherman remained missing after the bridge collapse, he said.
"Mukhang napuruhan po ng pagbagsak ng tulay... Naipit po sila. Nasa bandang likuran po iyong kanilang mga kabina at andoon po iyong kanilang pahingahan. Iyon po ang totally na-submerge sa tubig," he said.
(It appears that the victims were hit worst by the bridge, the were pinned under. Their cabins and resting area are in the boat's rear. That was totally submerged under water.)
Taiwan has a huge fishing industry and many of those who work on its boats are low-paid migrant workers from countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Prosecutors have launched an investigation into the cause of the incident, said transport minister Lin Chia-lung, adding that the bridge was still within its expected 50-year lifespan.
"Recent weather conditions, earthquakes and past assessments of the bridge will be taken into considerations. We will fully cooperate with the investigation," he told reporters.
Taiwan was skirted by a typhoon on Monday night, which brought heavy rains and strong winds to parts of the east coast.
Previous serious bridge incidents in Taiwan have mostly been related to typhoons.
In 2009, 2 bridges were badly damaged by Typhoon Morakot, which left more than 400 people dead.
With reports from Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News; Agence France-Presse