Filipino supermarket worker found alive in Haiti workplace

January 16, 2010 12:14 pm 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Jan. 16 — Filipino Grace Labian has been rescued from the rubble of her workplace which collapsed in Port-au-Prince in Haiti on January 12 due to a massive earthquake of magnitude 7, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA0 reported.

Her rescue leaves just one other Filipino worker of the Caribbean Supermarket, Geraldine Lalican, unaccounted for. Before Labian, Aurora Aguinaldo had been extricated out of their collapsed supermarket building.

The DFA said that a special task force within the 10th Philippine Peacekeeping Contingent (PCC) to Haiti, led by Army Lt. Col. Lope Dagoy, continues with efforts to find Lalican.

The department did not indicate if there were signs of life around where Lalican was last seen working, Port-au-Prince’s biggest store.

Including the supermarket personnel, only five more Filipinos in Haiti are believed missing as rescue efforts entered its fourth day today. Of them, three are from the PCC, which is attached to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), and another is from the UN mission in Haiti.

Dagoy had earlier reported to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s Peacekeeping Operations Center in Camp O’Donnell in Capas, Tarlac that Army Corporal David F. Catacutan was found alive at the basement gym of Montana Hotel in Port-au-Prince.

A member of the Security Element Defense Platoon of MINUSTAH, Catacutan suffered slight body contusions and is back with his detachment near the hotel.

The task force formed within the PCC to determine the extent of Filipino casualties in the tragedy, has been hampered by limited visibility, blocked road conditions, poor communications, limited search and rescue efforts, but is doing all it can under the circumstances, according to DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Affairs Esteban Conejos Jr.

Ambassador to Havana Macarthur Corsino, taking the rough road into Port-au-Prince via neighboring Sto. Domingo City in the Dominican Republic, is joining the team shortly to help with repatriation arrangements.

The Philippien Embassy in Cuba has diplomatic jurisdiction over Haiti.

Conejos confirmed there are 462 Filipinos in Haiti, of which 290 are civilians and 172 peacekeepers, 15 of whom are from the Philippine National Police and all accounted for.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral to organize the dispatch of a 22-man medical mission to help with international efforts in Haiti.

The Philippine group is to leave for the Caribbean as soon as possible and is scheduled to stay about two weeks. Already, U.S. and Chinese teams are in the scene, according to wire reports. (PNA)



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