Nine NYD pilgrims say goodbye, give aid to foster families in Tejero

By: Zena V. Magto April 28,2019 - 07:12 PM

The pilgrims of the National Youth Day attend the closing Mass of the five-day event at the Cebu City Sports Center on April 28. | Tonee Despojo #CDNDigital

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The nine National Youth Day pilgrims, who lost all their belongings to the April 26 fire in Barangay Tejero in Cebu City, returned to the barangay a few hours after the close of the NYD event on Sunday, April 28.

Dannah Mae Gerali, 22, together with the eight other pilgrims, sought out their foster families, who were displaced by the fire, and gave them canned goods.

Gerali from Asturias town in northwestern Cebu said these were their tokens of appreciation to their foster families and to say goodbye to them.

Read more: NYD 2019 pilgrims found new friends, families in Cebu visit

Gerali and eight other pilgrims also lost all their belongings in the April 26 fire, which were then left at the homes of their foster families in Barangay Tejero, Cebu City.

The nine pilgrims were only left with the freebies of the religious event.

Read more: Tejero chief calls for help as burnt body of woman found in razed house

After the fire, the pilgrims were immediately taken to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, so they could take shelter.

The pilgrims said that they were resting inside their foster homes in Sitio Silangan 2, Barangay Tejero, Cebu City, when the fire hit just a few blocks away from where the fire started.

They were met with personnel from the Cathedral and then  led to guest rooms.

Jackie Aguanta, 19, who also hails from the Municipality of Asturias, narrated how saddened they were with their experience.

“We were crying. All of our stuff were burned, all bags, all clothes and shoes. We only had our kits,” said Aguanta.

Jeorge Niñeria, 20, lost his school documents which he brought with him all the way from Bohol.

He was planning to enroll in a university in Cebu City for college after NYD.

“Even my documents, my money, all gone. I tried rushing back to my foster home but it was already in ashes,” Niñeria said.

Read more: P1M lost, 981 individuals displaced as fire in Tejero destroys 149 houses

The Oasis of Love, a Catholic charismatic group, provided the pilgrims with clothes.

Monsignor Ruben Labajo, team moderator of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, said that the pilgrims were given cash allowance.

“I told them not to worry, because we will provide them with everything they lost in the fire,” said Labajo on Saturday, when they took in the nine pilgrims at the Cathedral.

The pilgrims, however, said that they still felt blessed for the experience despite the tragedy. 

They considred their experience “a unique” one out of all the other pilgrims.

“From all pilgrims, we were really chosen to experience this. We learned a lot from what happened to us,” said Aguanta.

“Never mind our luggage, as long as our lives were spared,” said Gerali.

They also expressed concern with the condition of their foster parents, which they then were unable to contact after the fire.

Labajo said that they would provide financial assistance to the fire victims of Barangay Tejero, which would be sourced from the church’s stewardship fund.

“It is better if we give monetary assistance so that they can allocate the necessary items respectively ,” said Labajo./dbs

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TAGS: Aguanta, families, foster, Gerali, Niñeria, NYD, pilgrims, Tejero

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