Jeepney operator drowns in Pandan

A Metro Manila resident vacationing in Pandan town was found dead floating at sea last Sunday off Caramoran after apparently drowning at sea during a family outing.

SEARCH AND RESCUE PERSONNEL place the body of the drowned jeepney driver in a body bag on the shore of Toytoy, Caramoran where it was brought by a motorized banca from the sea off Dariao. PRC Catanduanes photo

According to the initial police report, two residents – Norman Ramirez and Reynante Ibloguin – went to the police station at 10 PM of April 9, 2023 to report a person who went missing at Muraw beach in barangay Balognonan.

The individual was identified as Elmer del Valle, 52, a resident of Molave Village, Litex, Manggahan, Quezon City who owned and drove a passenger jeepney.

He reportedly took a vacation in Pandan and stayed in the house of his father, Norman, in Napo.

Last Sunday at around 8 AM, the family decided to have an outing at Muraw beach, with del Valle, who was then already intoxicated due to an overnight drinking spree, insisting on going with them.

At around 1 PM, the family noticed that del Valle was no longer around and assumed that he boarded his father’s tricycle that first left the beach and gone back to Napo.

When the excursionists returned home at 5:30 PM, they finally learned that their uncle Elmer was not there. They returned to Muraw beach and exerted efforts to find him but failed.

They contacted the police and the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO).

Last Monday, April 10, a team from the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Catanduanes Chapter, Philippine Coast Guard Pandan, MDRRMO and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) conducted an ocular search at the Muraw shoreline but failed to find del Valle.

They also borrowed a motorized banca from the Balognonan chairperson, went out to sea to look for the victim but also went home emptyhanded.

Upon arrival at 12:35 PM, they received information that a cadaver had been found floating at sea off Dariao, Caramoran.

In Dariao, they were told that the motorized banca which went to retrieve the cadaver will dock at Toytoy, where the rescue team saw the wooden vessel pulling del Valle’s corpse using a rope.

At the shore, the body was placed into a body bag and loaded into a truck, which then delivered it to the Pandan district hospital.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Red Cross clarified that the two children reported as having drowned in Mamangal beach in Virac also last Sunday was just a missing persons case.

The two children got lost among the crowd and were eventually found and given psychosocial support.

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