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Davao City still provides scholarships for 2003 Sasa blast victims

DAVAO CITY, April 4 (PNA) -- The city government continues to fund the scholarship of the survivors and the children of the victims of the 2003 Sasa Wharf bombing, spending around PHP5 million annually for their educational expenses.

One of the beneficiaries is 30-year-old Joel Torrevillas, a resident of Tibungco, this city. Torrevillas was a 17-year-old porter when the explosion happened that fateful day.

“I was having a snack at a food stall at that time,” Torrevillas recalled in the vernacular. “A kid was playing behind me, and then I heard an explosion. I woke up a month after because of complications.”

Torrevillas was a few meters away from the blast. He was saved by the child behind him who died during the explosion.

He can barely used his right arm after the incident.

In 2014, he underwent another surgery to take the splinter left in his lungs.

Maria Luisa Bermudo, City Social Services Development Office (CSSDO) head, said the city has sponsored over 500 scholars in different private and public schools and universities in the city.

Bermudo said the city continues to provide scholarships as long as the students show willingness to continue their studies.

“The beneficiaries of our educational assistance can choose their own school whether it’s a public or a private school, they can even choose their own course. We won’t impose on them what course to take,” she said.

All the scholars need to do is to follow the rules set by the city government like informing the city government immediately should they shift courses or continue their studies.

On Sunday, Torrevillas, the families and other victims of the Sasa Wharf bombing gathered at the blast site to commemorate the 14th year of the incident.

In 2015, joint operatives of Police Regional Office 12, Military Intelligence Group 12, Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Central Mindanao apprehended the suspect of the bombing, Abdul Manap Mentang.

Mentang was allegedly the man behind the Sasa Wharf blast and the 2005 Valentine’s Day bombing at the Davao City Overland Transport Terminal. (PNA)
LCM/FUNNY PEARL GAJUNERA

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