A dead child, a lost livelihood

September 2, 2006

By Hazel P. Villa

THE grief in the small bamboo house by the beach of Ali and Jocelyn Castillo was almost palpable as husband and wife struggled to explain how they lost their youngest and only son to an asthma attack on Monday.

The child’s condition might have been aggravated by fumes from the bunker fuel oil that washed on the shores of the island in the morning of Aug. 12, a day after the tanker MT Solar 1 ran aground off southern Guimaras.

The couple grieves for Alejandro, 2 years and 3 months old, whom they lovingly called Toto Pogi.

The boy arrived dead at the Guimaras Provincial Hospital at 7:30 a.m. of Aug. 28, even as his father did his best to bring him to the hospital in an hour-and-a-half trip by boat and motorcycle from Naoway.

Ali left the house at 5 a.m. that day to try to catch fish and returned an hour later to shouts of “Si Toto! Si Toto!” His wife thrust the barely breathing boy at him.

Neighbors awakened by the shouting put the Castillos on the motorboat that sailed to Kupo Wharf in Barangay Sabang, Sibunag town so that they could proceed to the hospital in the capital town of Jordan.

“I was supposed to join them going to the hospital, but I moved so slowly and my swollen tummy was already aching. Ali had to leave me behind,” said Jocelyn, who was due to give birth to her fourth child on Sept. 5 .

Bantay Dagat member Eduardo Pelingon, also a resident of the island, had already sent a short message to the ambulance driver of Sibunag town to expect Ali along the way.

(Click Toto Pogi, for the full story, Sept. 2, 2006.)


One comment

  1. It breaks my heart to read about little Toto Pogi’s short life. A victim like so many others.
    What I cant understand is that when such a disater happens, the rest of the world can turn a blind eye. Until we work together to care about anothers country amnd peoples only then will our world really be on the mend.
    Nature can only bear so much and this old faithful world of ours has suffered enough at the hands of people who just dont care, as long as the money keeps flowing in, its all ok.
    But nature can reclaim and is much more powerful than man, which the tusarmi proved.

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