Press Release
March 16, 2010

Gordon gets another touching moment in campaign sortie
MV Asuncion survivor thanks Gordon for taking care of her

When Bagumbayan presidential bet Sen. Richard J. Gordon visited Camarines Sur over the weekend, he did not expect that another touching moment would come his way--a reunion with a sea tragedy survivor he once took care of.

During a campaign sortie in the province last Saturday, the senator was approached by a tearful Maritess Maderal at the Milaor Elementary School. A surprised Gordon embraced the woman.

"I am really happy, and at the same time surprised, to see her. The last time I saw her she was still very young," Gordon said, recalling that he had almost adopted Maderal back then.

When the MV Asuncion sank off Zambales coast in December 1985, Maderal was one of the survivors. Gordon, who was then Mayor of Olongapo City, saw her when she was brought to a hospital in the town.

At that time Maderal was unaware if anyone from her family--parents and two siblings--survived the accident. Gordon decided to bring her and another girl, Lilibeth Acar, who lost her family in the same sea tragedy, to his house.

Maderal recalled that Gordon, along with his wife and children, treated her and Acar like their own family. Gordon was planning to adopt the two girls, but after eight months, Maderal's father arrived to fetch her. He proceeded to adopt Acar, who is now a physical therapist.

Last Saturday's incident is like what happened to Lilibeth Layno and Resty Sarmiento when Gordon visited Davao City and Bataan, respectively.

Layno, who is now a volunteer in Gordon's campaign, met the senator last January in Davao City and personally thanked him for helping her daughter, who was diagnosed with scoliosis, undergo surgery.

Meanwhile, Sarmiento, a professor at the Bataan Peninsula State University in Dinalupihan, approached Gordon after the latter's speech at the academe last February and expressed his gratefulness to the senator for giving him the opportunity "of helping himself achieve his goals."

Policemen used to go after Sarmiento when he was still a guava vendor in Olongapo City. Then Olongapo Mayor Gordon gave him a chance to work with dignity by giving him, and other co-vendors, a place in the market. He recalled that Gordon would even visit them at the market to see how they were doing.

Gordon said he feels so blessed to reunite with people he once helped, like Maderal, Layno and Sarmiento, stressing that such incidents give him the assurance that he is doing the right things and is on the right track.

"The passion, the drive to help intensifies because I know I am capable of doing it. I feel blessed because I am able to help," Gordon said.

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