FIRE HITS OLD TARLAC CITY MARKET; RIYADH BLAST SURVIVOR RETURNS HOME

TARLAC CITY, December 26, 2003  (STAR) A 30-minute fire that razed the city’s old public market, followed by a power outage, spoiled the Christmas Eve celebration of local residents.

Fire probers said the fire broke out at about 10:40 p.m. in one of the temporary stalls along M. H. del Pilar street.

The half-hour power outage left 3,000 city folk attending the Christmas Eve Mass at the Ninoy Aquino Plazuela in the dark. — Benjie Villa

Riyadh Blast Survivor Returns Home

The overseas Filipino worker, who survived the Nov. 7 terrorist bombing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has been reunited with her family.

Domestic helper Lolita Montealto, 33, of Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte, was welcomed home by no less than President Arroyo at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at 5 p.m. the other day.

Virgilio Angelo, head of the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA), said Mrs. Arroyo personally asked his office to see to it that Montealto would be home before Christmas.

Angelo said the OWWA provided Montealto’s plane fare and facilitated all the arrangements for her speedy return.

He said Mrs. Arroyo tasked him to extend all possible medical assistance to Montealto for the speedy healing of her broken right arm as well as financial or redeployment assistance for her livelihood.

Montealto, along with her employers, was wounded when their home at the Mahya compound in Riyadh collapsed during the bombing.

Though wounded, Montealto managed to pinpoint the location of fellow OFW Reylin Abarra in the ruble during the rescue operation. Abarra, however, later died.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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