20 children of Davao airport blast victims get college diplomas

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/05 March) – Twenty children of victims who died in the bomb explosion at the Davao International Airport in Sasa in 2003 have finished college with help from the city government, according to the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO).

The students earned degrees from different colleges in the city.

“We have assisted in the education of these students with an educational assistance amounting to P4.302 million,” Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte said Tuesday during commemoration ceremonies at the old airport.

Records at the CSSDO showed the agency has released P2.540 million at P10,000 per college student, and a total of P1.662 million for elementary and high school students for the same period, with elementary students receiving P4,000 and high school students receiving P7,000.

An improvised explosive device went off at a waiting shed fronting the old international airport on 4 March 2003, killing 22 people and injuring 114 others.

Duterte recalled promising the victims the city government would support those who were either injured or killed in the bombings, including their families.

“I swore to see you grow in life,” he said, adding that he hoped future administrations of the city would continue to give support.

“This is not my money, this is from Davaoenos,” he added.

In his speech at the commemoration rites, Duterte called the bombing an unfortunate event in the history of Davao.

“Every time an innocent citizen is killed or injured, to that extent there is a failure of government,” he said.

He emphasized it was practically impossible to prevent terrorism in highly urbanized cities like Davao, adding it was a result of a divided society.

He said “I can control crime” like gangsterism, rape, kidnappings, and illegal drugs, “but I cannot control terrorism.”

Asked how the city was doing in preventing crime and terrorism, Duterte said conditions were better now than in 2003.

However, Duterte said in an interview that there was not enough money to go around for security operations.

Recalling the event, he said he was supposed to fly out of the city for an engagement when it occurred.

He said he had his blood taken three times in different locations by lying to medical personnel, and helped in transporting the injured to hospitals.

“I urge the city government not to forget those who were affected by the bombings,” he said. (MindaNews)