By Freddie C. Velez
Plaridel, Bulacan – Thousands of residents poured out into the streets amid the heat of the afternoon sun yesterday to join the funeral procession for the five members of the Santos and Dela Rosa families who died when a light plane crashed into their house in Plaridel, Bulacan last Saturday.
Prior to the procession, the St. Joseph Parish Church, here, was packed for the final rites accorded to victims Luisa A. Santos, 79; Rizza Santos-Dela Rosa, 48; and Rizza’s children John Noel, 17; Timothy Noel, 10; and Crizza, 7.
Noel dela Rosa, husband and father to Luisa and their children, said he and his family’s relatives are finding comfort in God and His words, citing how Jesus said in the Gospel of John Chapter 14, Verse 14: “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.”
Dela Rosa was giving reference to their quest for justice over the deaths of their loved ones.
“Kung ang pagkawala ng buhay ng aking biyenan, asawa at tatlong mga anak ang magsisilbing instrumento para mawala at maalis na ang mga flight training schools dito sa aming lugar ay maluwag ko itong tatanggapin (If losing my mother-in-law, wife, and three children serves as the instrument to shutting down flight training schools in our community, I would graciously accept it,” he said.
“Matagal na naming pinanawagan ito sa ating pamahalaan mula pa noong dalawang beses ng may bumagsak na eroplano dito sa amin. Sa tuwing may dumadaang eroplano ay kumakabog na aming mga dibdib sa takot (We have long been appealing for this [shutdown of flight schoos] since the two earlier plane crash incidents in our place. Each time an aircraft passes over us, our hearts throb in fear),” Dela Rosa added.
Other relatives of the Dela Rosa family said they appreciate the visit and condolences of Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Plaridel Mayor Jocell Vistan-Casaje during the wake, but hoped the risk posed by flight schools to the community would be addressed.
But despite this latest air tragedy that claimed the lives of 10 people, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has no plan of relocating the airport in Plaridel.
All five aboard the crashed Piper Apache plane, including the pilot Capt. Ruel M. Meloria, were killed. The four others were Romeo H. Huenda, chief mechanic; flight school students Alicia N. Necesario, Maria Vera F. Pagaduan, and Nelson T. Melgar.
CAAP Spokesman Eric Apolonio said the airport in Plaridel was founded in 1935, when there were no houses in the area.
Apolonio, therefore, asserted that the airport cannot be blamed for the houses that started to be built around it.