Philippines names mom, 2 kids killed in MH17 tragedy

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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(UPDATED) A 54-year-old mother and her two children, aged 20 and 15, die in the Malaysia Airlines plane crash, according to the Philippine government

DAY OF MOURNING. A young boy lights a candle in commemoration of the victims of Malaysia Airlines plane accident in eastern Ukraine in front of the Dutch embassy in Kiev, Ukraine on July 17, 2014. Photo by Roman Pilipey/EPA

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday, July 18, named the 3 Filipinos from the same family who died in the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 plane crash on Thursday, July 17.

In a text message to reporters, DFA spokesman Charles Jose identified the Filipinos – a mother and her two children – after Malaysia Airlines notified the victims’ families. The following Filipinos died in the plane crash:

  • Irene Gunawan, 54;
  • Sherryl Shania Gunawan, 15; and
  • Darryl Dwight Gunawan, 20

In a media briefing earlier on Friday, Jose said the address stated in their passport application is in The Netherlands.

The Gunawans were among the 298 people on board the Malaysia Airlines flight that crashed in strife-torn eastern Ukraine on Thursday.

US officials said the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile.

SHOT DOWN. Debris of the Boeing 777, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which crashed during flying over the eastern Ukraine region near Donetsk, Ukraine on July 17, 2014. Photo by Alyona Zykina/EPA

Speaking to reporters, he added that the Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is closely coordinating with the Malaysia Airlines head office on the next moves to take.

He said the Philippines is ready to assist the Filipino victims’ families if they “would like to visit wherever the remains would be taken.”

The Philippines will also help in repatriating their remains.

In an earlier interview on ANC’s Headstart, Jose also said the Philippines is considering calling for additional security for flights along the path of the downed Malaysia Airlines plane.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a statement the Office of the President, for its part, offers its “sincerest condolences to the families of all the victims, recognizing full well the enormity of their loss.” – with reports from Agence France-Presse/

This article earlier reported that Darryl Gunawan was aged 15 and Sherryl Gunawan aged 20, based on information from the Department of Foreign Affairs. Subsequent interviews with their relatives showed that their ages appeared to be interchanged. 

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email