Over P700,000 in relief and financial assistance has been provided by the government to the passengers of the fire-stricken Basilan ferry that was caught in a tragedy that left 28 people dead, Defense chief Carlito Galvez Jr. said Saturday.
In his report to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Galvez said financial assistance worth P640,000, and more than P71,000 in food and non-food items were distributed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the provincial government of Basilan to the victims of the MV Lady Mary Joy 3 fire.
Local and provincial authorities in Basilan, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) also distributed hygiene kits and clothing to the victims, while the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) distributed meals, he added.
Galvez said personnel from the DSWD conducted psychosocial intervention to the survivors staying at the DSWD Home for Women in Mampang, Zamboanga City.
The Philippine Red Cross, on the other hand, conducted first-aid treatment to the survivors and provided cadaver bags.
MV Lady Mary Joy 3 was on its way to Jolo, Sulu from Zamboanga City on March 29 when it caught fire at around 10:40 p.m. The blaze was declared fire out at 7:30 a.m. on March 30.
As of April 1, Galvez said authorities on the ground recorded 28 dead, 32 missing, and 227 survivors from the sea tragedy.
“During the retrieval operations, it came out that out of the 18 bodies visually identified, only 17 actual cadavers were recovered from the scene. Subsequently, the said bodies were brought to Villa Arcega Funeral Homes in Zamboanga City for proper identification and disposition,” the Defense chief said.
Two multi-purpose assault crafts of the Philippine Navy that served as the incident’s first responders are currently in the area conducting search, rescue, and retrieval operations, he added.
Meanwhile, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) said on Friday that it had launched a marine safety investigation into the MV Lady Mary Joy 3 fire. —LBG, GMA Integrated News