INSIDE PAGE | Fernan A. Gianan:

No sign of missing fishermen in sea tragedy

Despite several search-and-rescue operations, teams of local MDRRMO personnel, local fishermen and Philippine Coast Guard personnel have yet to find any sign of survivors or bodies of the five fishermen still missing due to the inclement weather that began last week.

After the bodies of Eduardo Walet, 55, and Adrian Lanon, 41, were found one after the other in Soboc and Botinagan in Viga last Dec. 3 and 4, 2021, two bodies discovered on the beach of Soboc last Sunday morning and afternoon turned out to be that of fellow Tinago fisherman John Paul Tuonan, 24, and his brother Arnel, 36.

The four were aboard the 16-HP motorized banca “Clifford” when they left the village on Nov. 30 to go fishing in the ocean east of the island.

Also missing are five of six fishermen from Putsan and Damao who departed from the two fishing villages on board five motorboats at 4 AM of Dec. 1, some 13 hours before a gale warning was issued.

Based on the account of Freddie Mingo, whose banca fortunately drifted to Rapu-rapu, three of the fishing boats headed home after strong winds and waves began hitting them at Buoy No. 32 some six hours sailing from Baras.

He lost sight of the other two boats who tried to go home while the other two chose to stay at the buoy they had no lights.

Mingo managed to come back to the island on board his banca last Dec. 3.

According to Baras MDRRMO Kahlil Tapia, several search parties went out to sea beginning Dec. 3 until 5 but had to go back and postpone the same due to rough weather.

No survivors, bodies or debris were found, the same finding of the aerial surveillence conducted by the PCG’s Cessna 208 Caravan plane.

Last Sunday, PCG Northern Samar Station recovered the blue Jamalia 3 which Ronald Abarle, 28, boarded, and the blue “Franz Gabriel” of Dante Torrente, 27, and Melvin Babagay, 36.

There was no sign of the two men or their bodies in the area where the boats were found.

Still missing are the blue “Jamalia 2” of Jerson Asis, 21, and an unnamed green-and-blue banca of Jovel Torrente, 32.

Coastal towns of Samar, Sorsogon and Albay have been alerted to report possible sightings of the missing fishermen or their boats.

*****

Last week, the IATF issued Resolution No. 152 amending the metrics for determining alert level classifications of provinces and cities.

According to the IATF, areas under Alert Level 2 like Catanduanes may be escalated to Alert Level 3 if both case classification and total COVID-19 bed utilization are at moderate risk; or if case classification is at high to critical risk.

The IATF case classification is based on the number of confirmed cases per 10,000 population and the average land area per confirmed case, as a measure of the ability to practice social distancing.

On the other hand, the risk of the health system being over-burdened is measured by the number of isolation rooms per active case and the number of ventilators per active case.

The same resolution also directed the DOH One Hospital Command Center and other concerned agencies to conduct an inventory of the health system capacity to ensure adequate resources are available in case a spike of cases should occur.

Strengthening the EBMC and the three district hospitals against such surge of cases should now be the urgent priority of the provincial government.

*****

A MOTHER AT 70. Thanks to the miracle of fertility treatment, a woman was able to have a baby at 70. When she was discharged from hospital. Her relatives came to visit.

“Can we see the baby?” they asked.

“Not yet,” said the 70-year old mother.

Fifteen minutes later, they asked again. “Can we see the baby?”

“Not yet,” said the mother.

Another 15 minutes later, they asked again: “Can we see the baby?”

“Not yet,” answered the mother.

The relatives were growing impatient. “Well, when can we see the baby?”

“When it cries.”

“Why do we have to wait until the baby cries?”

“Because I forgot where I put it.”

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