One of the seven fishermen still missing has been found at Monreal Town in Ticao Island, Masbate, leaving six more unaccounted for and feared dead.
The Virac Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) learned thru social media posts and from a chat group with DRRM officials that the Monreal MDRRMO retrieved a body at sitio Topaz in barangay Guinhadap at 11 AM of Dec. 31, 2022.
The headless body wore a black, long-sleeved shirt and yellow shorts, which matched the description of the clothes worn by Dante David, 41, when he left Palnab del Sur, Virac on Dec. 22 together with Noel Zafe.
Zafe was also found dead snagged in a mangrove forest at Paghuliran, Matnog, Sorsogon, last Dec. 26 at 5:30 PM and was identified by his green shirt and anchor tattoo on his right arm.
The third confirmed death from the bad weather brought by the shear line and northeast monsoon was Arnel Araojo, 47, of Palnab del Norte, whose body was found at the shore of Calanaga, Rapu-Rapu, Albay at 8:30 AM of Dec. 26, 2022, just over a day after his companion, Norman Lim, 34, managed to swim ashore at Nagcalsot a short distance away on Christmas eve.
Still missing are fellow fishermen Domingo Borilla Jr., 33, and Jason Mandasoc, 31, both of San Vicente, Virac.
There were reports that the two men had been found alive somewhere in Eastern Samar but local disaster officials were unable to confirm the reports.
Also missing are Viga fishermen Juanito Estrella, 51, Jobert Teano, 33, Ringo Tupid, 37, and Willy Ralf Uchi, 35, all of barangay Buenavista.
An aerial search conducted by the Philippine Air Force’s 505th Search and Rescue Wing along the eastern coast of Catanduanes, the sea between the island and Albay and the Rapu-Rapu coastline failed to find any trace of the missing fishermen and their motorized bancas.