Cebu News

Man, boy zapped by wire succumb to their injuries

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - A man and a boy who suffered serious burns just days of each other after coming in contact with a live electrical wire on the same roof of a skywalk along Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City have died.

Because of this, the police are now looking into who has liability over the two incidents.

Senior Inspector Elisandro Quijano, chief of the Cebu City Police Office Homicide Section, said Noli Cesiban, of Sitio Tabay Lawom, Barangay Tisa, Cebu City died at 12:57 a.m. yesterday, or roughly 13 hours after he got zapped by electricity while attempting to get a Sinulog tarpaulin on the roof of the skywalk around 11:30 a.m. last Tuesday.

Aside from being critically burned, Cesiban suffered additional injuries after he fell from the roof, which was around 16 feet high.

He was rushed to the nearby Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) and was confined at the hospital’s intensive care unit.

The police said Cesiban died of Hypovolemic Shock, an emer-gency condition in which severe blood and fluid loss prevents the heart from pumping enough blood to the body. 

His wife claimed Cesiban’s cadaver and brought him to Alcoy, Cebu. Less than two hours after Cesiban died, a 12-year-old boy who landed at the VSMMC after also coming in contact with a live wire on the same roof of the skywalk also expired.

VSMMC Spokesperson Nonoy Mongaya confirmed that boy died at 2:20 a.m. due to third-degree burns to the face, neck, arms and legs, or 30 percent of his body.

Mongaya said the hospital shouldered the medical expenses of the street-child amounting to P51,492.  The boy was admitted at VSMMC with another boy aged 11 last January 14.

Mongaya said the 11-year-old boy is still recovering at the hospital and that not one family member has visited the boy so far.

At the Cebu City Hall, Acting Mayor Edgaro Labella asked the Visayan Electric Company and the Sinulog Foundation Inc. to come up with safety measures in the putting up of welcome tarpaulins and streamers.

He said that even if Cesiban was not authorized by SFI to remove Sinulog tarpaulins, the safety of whoever are tasked to either put up or take them down should be the first concern of the two organizations.

Labella said safety should be the first requirement and that consideration in the placing of Sinulog banners, posters, tarpaulins, streamers, among others should be prioritized

“I will now advise the SFI to see to it that the placing of tarpaulins for the Sinulog nga safety should be the first concern. Nga we should not allow these things to happen again in the next Sinulog. This is a lesson learned,” he said.

The city, he said, would investigate the incident to see how and why it happened.

“I will ask SFI to comment on this but of course with an advice nga safety and security sa kaning nag-install ug pagtangtang aning mga kuan (tarpaulins) to advertise the Sinulog event must be secured and must be safe. We should bear this in mind,” Labella said.

He also directed the city’s Office of the Building Official to look into the safety of skywalks in the city, especially if there are exposed wires that would endanger the public.

As to possible punishments for the boy’s and Cesiban’s death, Quijano said the only liability that he could see based on the results of their initial investigation is civil in nature.

“Siguro civil liability atong tan-awon, pero maka-kuan sad siguro ang Visayan Electric Company. Wala ta mag-pinpoint nga ang VECO naa gyuy liability ani, ang gikatkatan nahulog og government structure,” Quijano said.

He, however, also said that they are waiting for the wife of Cesiban to come to their office and signify her interest in filing a criminal complaint.

He said they could also assist in helping her identify what government agencies to seek help from while the investigation is ongoing.

 This early, he said it will “take a long time before they could determine who is liable.

“Taas taas pa na nga proseso, disgrasya man na, depende na lang,” he said.

 Labella said the city would also provide assistance to the Cesiban’s family through the city’s Department for the Social Welfare and Services.

“We urge the kin or the relatives to come to DSWS,” he said.

In a separate interview, SFI executive director Ricky Ballesteros said the tarpaulins and streamers are supposedly used to welcome the delegates of the International Eucharistic Congress.

He said, though, that SFI will also investigate if Cesiban was employed by the sponsor to remove the banner.

Globally, burns are a serious public health problem. An estimated 265,000 deaths occur each year from fires alone, with more deaths from scalds, electrical burns, and other forms of burns, for which global data are not available. According to the World Health Organization, the vast majority of the incidents occur in low- and middle-income countries. — Bryner L. Diaz, Kristine B. Quintas, Jean Marvette A. Demecillo, USJ-R Intern Jan Michael T. Lumayag/RHM (FREEMAN)












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