Bomb victim’s wife, children receive help from ARMM gov’t PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 18 August 2013 13:49

It is always the poor that have sad stories to tell.

Saguiara Satol, 30, widow of Sangkala Satol, one of the eight fatalities in the August 5, 2013 deadly car bomb explosion in Cotabato City, said she had never thought of receiving any cash assistance from the office where her husband had worked as a carpenter until Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman handed her P100,000 cash on Thursday at the governor’s office.

Satol’s husband, who was in his early 50s, was a utility worker and carpenter at the ARMM’s Office of the Regional Governor (ORG), the region’s “Little Malacanang,” which has ministerial control over more than 40 line agencies and support offices devolved by the national government.

Satol said it was her husband’s desire to bring home a box of milk for their two-year-old son that brought him to the spot where he fell and died when bombers set off a car packed with explosives, made of Ammonium Nitrate and petroleum, while parked along a stretch of the busy Sinsuat Avenue in Cotabato City.

The roadside bombing, which marred the observance of the 25th day of the month-long Islamic Ramadhan fasting season by local Muslim communities, was the worst ever in the city’s 50-year history.

“We were together in a grocery across the street where the `car bomb’ was parked. He went out and told me he would wait for me outside because the establishment was full of Muslim customers buying something for their `iftar’ in the evening of August 5,” Satol said in Filipino, in Maguindanaon accent.

The term “iftar” is Arabic for first meal at dusk, after a day-long fast. Healthy Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during the Ramadhan, which last for one lunar cycle, both as a religious obligation and a means to strengthen spiritual perfection.

The slain ORG carpenter, an ethnic Maguindanaon, is survived by his wife, their three pre-school children, and two teenage sons with an estranged first wife.

Satol said her husband have had a premonition of his tragic death.

Satol said he spoke of “taking good care” of their children if something happens to him and how he wished he would live to see a fruitful end to the on-going peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“He knew only a little about the peace talks, but his heart was so zealous about seeing the Moro communities live in peace and prosperity, which he believed will happen after  the government and the MILF strikes a final peace deal,” Satol said in the Maguindanaon dialect, in between sobs.

Satol said her husband had also told her to find a “younger man” because he was already old and that he was certain he would no longer see their three children grow up through their adolescence.

“I told him what he wanted was against Islamic principles, even if it was for practicality that he wanted me to find a younger man. I told him I will stand by him all the way and that death is something meaningful for Muslims because it is just a passage to another life,” Satol said.

Hataman, who personally handed over to Satol  the P100,000 cash assistance in a simple rite at his office here, said he has instructed his regional trade secretary,  Sakiran Hajan, to determine the viability of providing the widow with livelihood assistance, since she wants to spend the humanitarian grant in putting up a small sari-sari store.

“We will also study how to provide employment to the victim’s two older sons with his first wife to enable them to help sustain the needs of their three younger siblings with their stepmother,” Hataman said.