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Michelle Silvertino dies while waiting for a bus ride home; Duterte administration blamed for anti-poor policies

The local government advised that Silvertino be buried at the Pasay Cemetery to avoid risk of contamination at the Pasay Crematorium

Michelle Silvertino’s family will be receiving assistance from the Pasay City local government after she died due to a five-day wait for a bus ride to her home in Camarines Sur.

“Pasay Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano has vowed to extend the necessary assistance to the relatives of the woman who died reportedly after five days of waiting at the footbridge along EDSA for a bus to take her home to her province,” read the statement from Pasay Public Information Office.

On June 5, Silvertino’s unconscious body lying at a footbridge at E. Rodriguez in Barangay 159, Pasay City prompted a concerned citizen to call the police. According to the citizen, Silvertino had difficulty breathing and suffered from high fever. Silvertino was transported to the Pasay City General but was declared dead on arrival at 5:26 a.m. on the same day, nearly an hour after the citizen found her.

Rubiano said that Silvertino’s hospital and burial services have been settled already.

Silvertino wasn’t tested for COVID-19 because there was no form from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), added Rubiano.

Pasay City Public Cemetery and Crematorium received Silvertino’s corpse on June 7 but later found that the body was “already bloated and had a very foul smell which also released body fluids.”

The local government advised that Silvertino be buried at the Pasay Cemetery to avoid the risk of contamination at the Pasay Crematorium which her family had no problem with.

“Fearing the risk of any contamination among the personnel of the Pasay Crematorium as well as other people within its vicinity if the remains would be cremated there, the body was thus buried in Pasay Cemetery so as to avoid whatever health risks,” read the statement.

According to health department guidelines, cremation of suspected carriers of COVID-19 and COVID-19 patients are safe as long as strict infection and prevention controls are followed.

The Pasay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) was earlier dispatched to a woman who was at a footbridge on June 1. The PDRRMO offered to bring Silvertino to a hospital but she refused and even signed a waiver despite looking “very tired”.

The PDRRMO was constantly looking out for Silvertino but it was difficult to track her because she would move from one place to another in hopes of getting the opportunity to hop on a bus.

The Pasay police added that Silvertino’s employees offered to have her brought back home in Antipolo but deceased mother said she’d rather stay in Pasay to wait for a bus.

On June 4, Pasay government officials found Silvertino for processing of travel pass and for a scheduled rapid test on June 5.

The Pasay government also coordinated with the Office of Vice President Leni Robredo to request for a vehicle that would help Silvertino travel to Camarines Sur on June 6.

Even if the Pasay City LGU stepped in to help, netizens were still furious with the government for their ‘anti-poor policies’.

Written by Charles Teves

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