Published by the Bohol Standardwww.theboholstandard.com
(I think PreciousnPolite wrote this article)
What has Tagbilaran, renowned as the â€œCity of Friendship,â€ done to help a tourist who died inside its territory; in a freak accident involving its government-owned truck?
An American tourist died in a freak accident involving a city government-owned dump truck three days before Christmas. His remains laid in a funeral home for almost two weeks with neither the killer truck driver nor a single city government official peeping at his body or talking with his immediate family.
There was also no word of condolence nor a wreath of flowers sent.
The public only knew about it when the touristâ€™s fiancÃ©e went on air over PULSO-dyRD seeking for help.
The remains of American tourist Zachary Jason Raczok, 24, of Michigan, USA was shipped Thursday morning to Cebu City for cremation as requested by his parents who failed to come to the Philippines for some reasons. His ashes were flown home immediately after the cremation rites through the help of the US consular office based in Cebu City.
Raczok left behind a Boholana fiancÃ©e and a 5-month old baby girl.
A photo furnished to the Bohol STANDARD showed a typical happy family; - a scene showing the father and mother playing with their precious daughter days before the tragic
â€œNow all is gone. I am not certain what future lies ahead of me and our daughter,â€ Frances Cleope â€œPieâ€ Tutor, the fiancÃ©e of the dead American tourist said.
Zachary and Cleofe, a native of Mabini, Bohol were supposed to be married this January. The American is an overseas contract worker in Iraq; his company known as the International Transmission Team (ITT) does projects for U.S. ARMY bases,. His work was to set up all the communications systems for U.S. ARMY bases located both in the Middle East and in Africa.
Conflicting reports say the American riding on his motorcycle bumped into the dump truck owned by the city government as it was maneuvering the corner Circumferential Road and Miguel Parras St., this city.
Some witnesses, however, recalled seeing the dump truck hitting the American motorist, who was thrown away some meters into the center of the road upon impact. A witness was even able to take a photo shot on the site which could reveal the actual circumstances of the accident.
The truck driver was believed driving under the influence of liquor as the city waterworks department was having their Christmas party that night. He also had an expired driverâ€™s license. The killer truck was an Isuzu Elf 250 dump truck, color blue, bearing plate number 7CY-665, owned by the Tagbilaran City Water Works, driven by Peter Ermilio Blanco y Polinar, 41 years old married, presently residing at Katipunan St. Tagbilaran City. He has a Professional, Driverâ€™s License No. O2-91-150101 but expired last June 29, 2007.
The police report, however, failed to indicate if it conducted alcoholic breathe test on the driver.
Raczok had a valid Land Transportation Office (LTO-Jagna) authorization to drive while his license application was processed. It was dated December 6, 2007 and will expire January 1, 2011. He was driving a Honda ANF Motorcycle, color blue/black, bearing plate number J7-4510
The accident happened at around 1:45 in the early morning of Dec. 22.
Zachary was considered a Good Samaritan by his common-law-wife and her family and his friends where he was temporarily residing at B. Inting Street, in this city.
His fiancÃ©e, 25-year old beautiful Boholana Frances Cleope â€œPieâ€ Tutor is from Mabini. The American just arrived to see for the first time his new 5-month old daughter that he had just seen for the first time since she was born.
He came to the Philippines for the first time in 2006 to meet with his friend John McLeod also from the United States living in Manila and the two of them together had made a recording studio as his first business venture here in the Philippines.
During this time, he met his fiancÃ© â€œPieâ€ on September 5, 2006 at a birthday party of a mutual friend that they shared. Cleofe â€œPieâ€ was working at North Edsa SM Mall when the two of them met.
She had become pregnant by Zachary just before he had gone back to work in Iraq, he had left with her his personal American bank â€œCHASEâ€ ATM machine card so she could get money out of the bank to take care of her needs during her time of pregnancy.
In a special discussion with her at the Holy Name Funeral Home, this city, where Zacharyâ€™s remains laid in state for up to ten days, Cleofe told this writer that she wanted to make sure that the body of her late fiancÃ©e be handled properly and without any negative controversy.
â€œI owe it to him and I must make sure everything is handled properly between the American Embassy and the parents of the deceased.â€
She went on to say while staring down into the coffin of her late fiancÃ©e, that Zachary was so very good to her and her family. The American even gave P20,000 to his future father-in-law to be able to start up a fishing business and make a livelihood for his family and himself.
Not only was he giving to his pregnant fiancÃ©e in the past and to his future father-in-law to-be, but he was also helping Ana Lyne Tutor, the younger 20-year old sister with financial assistance to help her take care of her thyroid cancer and goiter.
The accident did not have much media publicity and only two American nationals signed in the guest book at the funeral parlor. This writer spent New Yearâ€™s Day and the final day with mourning fiancÃ©e â€œPieâ€ up until it was time to ship the body to Cebu where the body was then cremated. â€œPieâ€ had also included Zacharyâ€™s PC lap top, his Nokia cellular phone and various other personal effects in a large suitcase to be sent back home to his parents in Michigan.
The City Waterworks Department of Tagbilaran City or the City Mayorâ€™s Office did not give any assistance to the deceased American visitor who loved the Philippines and had given so much to the people in so short of time.
Today, January 6, Zachary and Cleofe were scheduled to go Cebu and get the Certificate on the Capacity to Marry required for their wedding this month that they were planning for.
According to a representative of the American Embassy, the daughter of the late American victim may qualify for her fatherâ€™s social security benefits.
Not one flower or one bit of word of sentiment had come from city government offices to the victimâ€™s family in Michigan or to the Boholana fiancÃ©e and her family here in Bohol. The city government also did not make any effort to get in touch with the proper authorities of the US Embassy on how to handle the deceased American tourist.
Mark Leo Monton, a trusted aide of City Mayor Dan Lim, said that it was the first time he had been made aware that an accident involving an American tourist had taken place. When presented with the city police report and other legal and authenticated documents regarding the touristâ€™s death, he then asked to get photo copies of them.
A message of transmission from the Police Provincial Directorâ€™s Office dated Dec. 22, 2007 informing the Honorable City Mayor about the incident also surprised Monton. The in-charge at the head office of the City Waterworks Department failed to submit the copy of the message to the Office of the City Mayor.
The police only filed the complaint on Friday, Jan. 4, 2008 after Atty. Alexander H. Lim, the lawyer hired by the fiancÃ©e only last Jan. 2, 2008, called case investigator PO3 Fabio C. Maulas why the delay in filing the case.
Efforts to contact City Mayor Dan Lim for his comment paid-off only just before deadline yesterday.