ROXAS BLAST | Dabawenyos move on with stronger will to seek justice, fight terrorism
It has been a year since that fateful night at the Roxas Night Market. The people of Davao may have moved on, but they have not forgotten.
With the memorial as a backdrop, a mass was celebrated at the blast site on August 31 to remember the 17 people who perished and the 69 injured from the bombing.
The gathering was less somber this time, but grief and pain of the survivors and the families of the victims still filled the air.
Families of the victims, survivors, officials of the city attended the mass. Hundreds were also present to join the remembrance.
At the mass, Mayor Inday Sara Duterte once again apologized.
“During the mass the day after the bombing and the 40th day mass, nag-refuse ko nga mohatag og mensahe ug motindog sa inyong atubangan at that time because naulaw ko sa inyohang tanan. I felt ashamed and embarrassed that it happened,” Mayor Inday said.
She said she was sorry that the victims, the survivors, their families, and Davao City “had to go through it.”
“Rest assured that we are doing our best. The City Government of Davao and the Davao City Police Office are doing our best to prevent another incident such as what happened on September 2 of last year,” the Mayor said.
A P9-million Trust Fund has been put up for the victims and families of the bombing. As the city continues to provide healthcare to those still recuperating, around P7.5 million was also allocated for the livelihood and medical maintenance of the families of victims and bombing survivors.
“The goal is to capacitate them with knowledge on simple bookkeeping, recording and controlling through the provision of capacity-building seminars and trainings to enable them to grow their businesses into viable and sustainable undertakings,” City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) head, Maria Luisa Bermudo, said.
Each of the victims recently received P50,000 in livelihood assistance to help them rebuild their lives. This was hoped that it would help them start business that will ultimately support them and their families.
A few days after the blast last year, Mayor Sara immediately ordered the resumption of business operations at the Roxas Night Market. It was not only to show the resilience of the Dabawenyos, but also to show the perpetrators that Dabawenyos do not easily cower.
Melvin Artega, one of the survivors, is appreciative of the assistance the Davao City Government has extended to all of them immediately after the tragedy. She said the monetary and psycho-social help were crucial in helping them cope with trauma of the Roxas Night Market Bombing.
“Sa karon medyo okay na apan dili gyud siya malimtan. Pero ginadasig nako akong sarili nga dili gyud magpadaog. Ako pud giconvince akong mga kaubanan nga magpakaisog lang gyud. Karon nagpadayon mi sa among pagmasahe. Tuloy ang buhay,” Artega said.
(For now, I am doing well but I cannot forget it. However, I am motivating myself to carry on. I have also convinced my colleagues to be strong. We continue our job as massage therapists. Life goes on. )
Today, the Roxas Night Market bustles with entrepreneurs.
For Analyn Flores, a store owner and resident of Roxas Boulevard, the incident was unforgettable and traumatic because one of the victims used to be her tenant. But she feels more secured now that the Davao City Government has augmented its security measures.
“Dili gyud namo to malimtan kay ang usa ka masahista nga namatay naga-bilin to siya og bangko diri sa amoa. Pero kailangan man ta magmove on. Sa karon okay man ang dagan sa mga negosyo. Nikusog pa man gani,” Flores shared.
(We will never forget it because one of the massage therapists who got killed in the bombing was one of our lessees. But we needed to move on. Our business is doing okay. I think it is prospering.)
Looking back has always been associated with good memories but Dabawenyos are looking back not to relive the painful memories, but to reaffirm what Davao City has showed the world after the tragedy — standing tall, united, resilient. CIO