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Mass burial for ‘Aquinas’ victims

CEBU CITY – The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) said yesterday it has decided to finally bury temporarily the 47 bodies that were retrieved from the sunken MV St. Thomas Aquinas but have not been identified one month after the tragedy.

PDRRMC Officer Neil Sanchez said the bodies, composed of four children, eight females, and 35 males, will be temporarily buried at the Carreta Cemetery on September 25, when authorities are done taking samples for DNA matching.

Sanchez said health and sanitation reasons suggest that the bodies, which are now in the statement of decomposition, should be buried to also give peace to the souls of those who are still unidentified.

One identified fatality, Ma. Elena Quinito, 39, would be the only identified casualty to be buried along with the 47 unidentified casualties. Quinito, though identified, cannot be taken home to Agusan because the legal next-of-kin, her parents, are not willing to take her home.

Quinitio’s common-law husband was willing to take her home with him but authorities will not release the body to him they are not legally married. (Mars Mosqueda, Jr.)